Praying Like Jabez, Two

This article was written by my friend Sylvia Gunter:

One problem with familiarity with the Scripture is that we easily miss the raw and painful edge of a familiar story. As we sit in comfortable surroundings, reading the Scripture on the elegantly-printed pages of our leather-bound Bibles, the deep reality of the situation can be lost. Things that should elicit a painful wince become just an interesting fact that we skim over.

We find such a verse in 1 Chronicles 4:9 “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ “

Pause and really think about that. Jabez literally means “sorrow-maker.” Anytime his mother called him to dinner, he heard “Sorrow-maker who caused me pain, come and eat.” Each time he introduced himself he was saying, “Hi, my name is Sorrow-maker. I cause pain.” Think of the jokes that were made at his expense. Jabez’s theme song could have been that B.B. King hit “Nobody loves me but my mother, and she could be jivin’ too.” (copyright Riley King 1993) Feel the shame he grew up with as he was constantly reminded that his birth brought pain and sorrow. Can you sense the heaviness of having to carry that around with you?

From this beginning point, verse 10 follows. “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

1 Chronicles 4:10 is a familiar verse. I have seen it printed on everything, including hubcap covers… I wish I were  joking. But this is not just a nice-sounding prayer to put on a greeting card. In light of the weight that Jabez carried his whole life of being the one who causes pain and sorrow, hear this prayer rising from Jabez’s spirit, the way I believe it was intended.

“Jabez cried out for help in a loud voice and pleaded, ‘Please bless me, bless me! And multiply many times my territory. Give me your strength and keep me from the painful evil, so that it may not grieve me or vex me.” And God gathered and brought together what he sought and begged for.”

Jabez was not a hoarder who was trying to just get more stuff from God. He was an honorable man, crying out to his Father to restore the fullness of what He had made him to be that had been tainted by everyone around him, including his mother. Every time someone called his name, it chipped away at the core identity that God created in him. Jabez was crying out for what was rightfully his in God.

We may not have grown up in the circumstances that are as painful as Jabez, but our spirits share a similar longing for all that God has for us. Let’s not settle for less, but join Jabez in crying out, Lord, bless me, expand my territory, be with me, keep me from evil, and thank you, God, for granting my requests.


Jabez, knowing his continuing need, kept calling on the name of God,

1. Bless me indeed. Do in my life unhindered everything You had in mind when You created me (Exo. 33:12b).

2. Enlarge my life. Accomplish Your perfect will, unobstructed by me. Make my character match my assignment, and show me Your glory (Exo. 33:12, 16-19).

3. Be with me. I must have the touch of Your gracious presence. Go before me, carry me through, come behind me, give me Your words, give me Your wisdom and power (Exo. 33:13-15).

4. Keep me from temptation, and deliver me from evil (Matt. 6:13). Direct my steps away from all that is not of You (Ps. 119:133). Keep me in the fear of the Lord (Deut. 10:12-13) and the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and let me stand in the gap for others (Eze. 22:30). Let me not hurt others, nor their reputations, and thereby temporarily separate myself from Your pleasure (Exo. 34:6-9). I don’t want to feel Your intervention against me on behalf of others when I am their accuser. All Your covenant intervention that I count on for me is available against me when I lift my hands or my words to attack others.

5. Open heaven’s storehouses because I am fervently seeking You, Your presence and Your glory (Ps. 104:28). In Jesus’ name, amen.

Dale Carnegie Had Some Good Things To Say

Dale Carnegie was good but if you just live by Philippians 2, you would have the same results.

Philip. 2:1-11 (MsgB)
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— [2] then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. [3] Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. [4] Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
[5] Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. [6] He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. [7] Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! [8] Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.
[9] Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, [10] so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, [11] and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Look how Carnegie says it:

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important–and do it sincerely.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  • The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  • Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  • Begin in a friendly way.
  • Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

Happy 4th of July 2010!

The following was taken from the personal diary of George Washington:

Almighty God, and most merciful father, who didst command the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise thee for thy protection both night and day, receive, O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee; I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the danger of the night past, and brought me to the light of the day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated ot thine own service and for thine own honor. Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do mine own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou requirest of me, and since thou art a God of pure eyes, and wilt be sanctified in all who draw near unto thee, who doest not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in thy courts, pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense; and as thou wouldst hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou has sent it. Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.