Be Like Jabez – Pray Big and Expect Answers

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Let's make a difference in our lives by asking God to fulfill our hearts' desires. Does this sound too selfish? Well, in this case, it's not.

There was one individual who was clear in his heart's desires. His name was Jabez. Only two verses in the entire Bible are devoted to Jabez -- I Chronicles 4:9-10. Yet, Jabez's prayer changed his life for the better.

And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. (I Chron. 4:9, 10)

We know that God answered Jabez's prayer, and his prayer was pretty significant. Look at it again and think about how Jabez's life might have changed once he received his heart's desire. Right away, we can assume that sorrow has left him because he has gained so much good. Now, how might our lives change if our hearts' desires are fulfilled?

Let's ask ourselves some important questions:

  • How often do we get quiet and ask God to do for us what Jabez asked?
  • How often do we ask God to bless us, give us a better life, stay with us all the time, and keep us from evil?
  • If we do ask God, do we believe that He will answer our prayer? Or are we just asking out of habit? Or are we just hoping that God will hear us?
  • Do we ask for what we really need? Or do we just ask for what we think God could possibly give us (and thus, limit our concept of God)? Or do we ask for things that we don't really need and which won't really bless us?

Recently, Jabez has become the subject for the series of books, The Prayer of Jabez and The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, by Bruce Wilkinson. Wilkinson has documented how praying Jabez's prayer has improved the lives of countless individuals. They are thought-provoking books you may want to read.

Every day this month, let's pray for ourselves as Jabez prayed. There are a few additional, helpful steps listed below. When we pray for ourselves, we can do the following:

  1. Get quiet and listen to God speak to our hearts.
  2. Determine what our real desires are.
  3. Thank God for all He has already given us. This is important to do. Jesus thanked God before he healed Lazarus.
  4. Ask God to bless us. God's blessings are HUGE, never-ending, always available, always present.
  5. Ask God to "enlarge" our "coasts," however we may see that. We could see it as expanding our horizons, gaining a greater sense of home, obtaining more land, or spreading Christianity (as Wilkinson affirms).
  6. Ask God to grant our hearts' desires. Be careful not to outline or to limit God. Feel free to ask for whatever our hearts truly want, no matter how big.
  7. Then trust God to fulfill our desires. Once we have asked, let go. If God doesn't want us to have something, then we certainly don't want to interfere with God's plan for us.
  8. Ask God to make us feel His presence each moment of every day. God never leaves us. We just sometimes think He's not around. God always has our hand in His. We need to let Him hold our hands.
  9. Ask God to keep us from evil, from even the temptation of evil. That's a lot like the Lord's Prayer: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matt. 6:13).
  10. Expect our request for our hearts' desires to be fulfilled. Expect to feel God's presence. Expect to be stronger than temptation and able to defeat evil of any sort.
  11. Keep a record of how God answers every prayer.

When we listen to God, speak from the heart, and honestly trust God to give us our hearts' desires and His very best, we can't help but find that our prayers change our lives. God wants to give us His very best. In fact, He's giving the best of everything He has and is. It's time to let prayer make us feel it.