Read: Chronicles 4:9-10
Bruce Wilkinson wrote a small book entitled Prayer of Jabez. The book became a best seller all over the world. I have seen book Vendors in Nairobi streets sell the book. The supermarkets in Nairobi, Uganda and Rwanda have the book in their books section. Last month I decided to read the little book for my devotion, meditation and reflection for the month.
And Jabez was more honorable than his brothers and his mother named him Jabez saying, ‘because I bore him in pain.’ Now Jabez called on God saying, ‘oh that thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my border and that thy hand might be with me and that thou wouldst keep me from harm that it may not pain me!.’ And God granted him what he requested.
The text tells us that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. The word of God does not tell us why he was more honorable than his brothers. May be he was the head or the spokesman for the tribe or family of Judah.
From the short autobiography of Jabez, we learn that Jabez was born in pain. It is not clear whether the pain was the usual childbearing pain the mother had. The mother may have experienced physical, psychological, emotional or a form of natural pain. The Bible does not tell the detail of the pain. All we know is that there was pain.
In our ministry we serve and deal with children who have undergone deep emotional, physical and psychological pain. Working with orphans, destitute, vulnerable and sick children is working with many Jabez’s. I have no doubt that these children have questions in their minds and in their hearts. Some of these questions could be “why did I have to be this sick? Why did God never allow me to meet my father and mother? Why was I abused?” These are questions of pain, reflecting deep pain. Jabez called on God. He prayed to God. He called on God to rescue him from pain.
I have watched the children at the KCK home pray. Some of the phrases of their prayers are, ‘God bless mom, bless dad and those who give clothes, toys, food and all who love and visit us.’ I have witnessed these small children kneel down with their eyes closed call on God for over ten minutes in travailing prayer. I do not know all their contents of their prayers but one thing I know is that the Lord hears their prayers.
Jabez was a little man; he had an autobiography of two lines in the Bible. He did not have great history. He was not famous like Moses, David or Solomon, but he is reputed for a short prayer he made. His name was sandwiched in genealogies of many lines of names of the tribe of Judah. But because of the prayer he made, the writer of Chronicles, when reporting on the genealogies of the family of Judah, broke the tradition for he not only mentioned his name, but also wrote a small autobiography of two lines about Jabez. You may have no history or anything of importance, but with prayer and trust, God can add some line in your life and your autobiography can change like that of Jabez.
I believe the children we serve will break the cycle of poverty in their families, clans and that they will change Kenya from within. I see them becoming Pastors, church ministers, pilots, doctors, nurses and professionals who will change Kenya from inside. It’s vivid to me that God will use them to change Africa.
You may be feeling that you are small and a nobody but I want to assure you that God cares for you and he is concerned. Your genealogy of pain, poverty and sickness can be broken by our God. Through prayer the Lord can break the pattern of abuse, substance and drug addiction in your life and family.
Jabez prayed that the ‘Lord may bless him’. He grew with a bad name and he needed a change. In many Kenyan TRIBES and other African tribes, names have meaning. Some names have good meanings and others have bad meanings behind them. Jabez knew that his name meant pain. A friend of mine in Kenya had a name which meant rejection and opposition. He had to file a suit in court for change of name. He wanted to have a name that means New. His new name was Njeru. (meaning new). I agreed with him. There is no need of having a name that has bad history and that reminds you of pain, rejection, hardship or evil. Jabez had a reason to ask the Lord to bless him. We may have inherited a bad legacy from our family but the Lord can turn it around for good.
The other thing Jabez wanted from the lord was for the Lord to enlarge his boundaries. We are not sure of the boundaries he wanted enlarged, but we are sure he wanted the Lord to give him an increase. May be he wanted more influence, promotion, responsibility and opportunity.
It’s our prayer and wishes that as we serve the children, the Lord will heal them of their pain and that they will have good education and prosper in life like our own children. It is our daily prayer that they will grow spiritually and that they will have a standing in the society and also that the Lord will bring them to realization of their life and career dreams. May the Almighty enlarge their territory in all ways!
He also prayed that the hand of the Lord be with him. Jabez needed divine help from the Lord. He needed the power of the Lord to lead him. There is power in trusting and in depending on God. Dependence on the Lord makes Heroes out of Ordinary people. The Lord is famous for using ordinary people to do extra ordinary things. It is important to know your shortcoming and call on the Holy Spirit of the Lord to lead, protect and guide you.
The final part of Jabez prayer was for God to keep him from evil. The gifts and the blessing from God attract attacks and opposition from the enemy. The Lord has given us assurance from His word that He will not leave us nor forsake us.
“He has promised in His word that He will protect us from all evil.“ (Psalm 121:7)