The Prayer Experiment
August 4 – Your Choice and Availability
1 Chronicles begins with a genealogical listing that starts with Adam. Through the first three chapters, most people are simply referenced without much explanation. This is why Jabez’s prayer sticks out – he not only gets mentioned in the genealogy, but his prayer is recorded. The prelude to his prayer is a single sentence: Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. This doesn’t mean he received more rewards or honors than his brothers; it indicates that he had a different kind of character than his brothers. To be honorable in God’s eyes is to be seen as righteous and obedient.
To be blessed by God is to be the recipient of his goodness and favor. In this sense, all people are blessed by God since God is the true source of all blessings. Given that his name meant “pain”, it’s possible that Jabez is asking God for an extra measure of favor and goodness. God is able to take our most painful experiences and turn them into blessings. Instead of focusing on his past, Jabez chose to focus on his future. God’s resources are unlimited and we shouldn’t hesitate to ask him for resources. When God does bless us, it is always for his glory.
August 11 – Your Opportunity
In geopolitical terms, a territory marks the sphere of influence of a ruler or nation. When Jabez asks God to enlarge his territory, he isn’t simply asking for more land – he’s asking God to grow his influence. This desire to do more good comes from God. As Christians, we should be asking God to increase the number of people that we can influence for Christ. The same is true for the church. Our desire should be to spread the gospel of Jesus and to extend the borders of his kingdom.
August 18 – Your Helper
In scripture, referring to God’s hand is a way of recognizing that God’s presence and power is among us. Scripture often refers to God guiding his people with his hand. When the early church met opposition, they prayed for God’s hand to be their protection and defense (Acts 4:29-30). The language of God’s hand being with us invokes several images: resting in God, God’s guidance, and God’s defense.
August 25 – Your Protection
Ultimately, it is sin that causes pain by never delivering what it promises. When God’s hand is with us, he will keep us from evil and help us to avoid causing harm to others. We cannot overcome the attacks of the devil without the protection of God.