A 3000+ year old prayer by a man named Jabez has gained worldwide attention in recent years due to a bestseller – The Prayer of Jabez – which has sold over 5 million copies. It was a short but heartfelt prayer by a man who wanted to turn his life around.
“Oh Lord, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory; that Your hand would be with me, that You would keep me from harm, and that I may not cause pain.” 1 Chronicles 4:9,10
Because his name means ‘he caused me pain”, many have speculated as to what his mother was going through at the time. Was he born disabled, or was he simply one-child-too-many (he had brothers) in very difficult times? After living with the rejection for years, Jabez decided it was time to rise above the expectations, and overcome the obstacles, that had held him back. The Bible calls him honorable because he wanted do more than be the cause of pain. Rather than be consumed by the setbacks, rejections and injustices that had caused his pain, Jabez called out to the Lord to help him find a better way.
Our family went through much turmoil back in 2002 when our daughter came close to death after a car accident on the mountain. The memories of that time are still painful, but we can truly say that the Lord helped us to find that better way. We have a far greater appreciation for the many people who played a part in bringing us through the crisis – including the Emergency Services, doctors, friends, family, and many others – and we are far more compassionate and hands-on, when there is an opportunity to help others in need.
None of us can rewrite history, but we can ask the Lord to help us turn our pain into gain – both for ourselves and for others. Why not use this prayer - first used by King David - to ask the Lord to show you a better way?
“Search me, Oh Lord and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:24, 25