In this article, we will take an in-depth look into the life and prayer of Jabez and what we can learn from this man of God. This Bible study will encourage and deepen your walk with the Lord. So, grab your Bible, and let’s dive in…
There are many prayers in the Bible, but the prayer of Jabez is quite unique as it’s short, to the point, and God flat-out answered. Even though many people have written on this topic, I felt compelled to give my insight into it. And I hope it blesses you and encourages you in your prayer life.
If you would like to learn more about prayer then I would encourage you to check out these other prayer lessons:
There is a lot in this post. So, if you would like to hop around, please feel free to use this table of contents. If not, just scroll and read like usual!
Who Was Jabez In The Bible?
Have you ever wondered who Jabez was in the Bible? I know for me I have wondered about this for a while and I have never read the famous book “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life.” I know from reviews some people love it, and some people don’t. I can’t tell you my thoughts on the book, but I do want to tell you my thoughts on Jabez.
Jabez is only mentioned in a few verses in the whole entire Bible. And it can be found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
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. – 1Chr. 4:9-10 KJV
From what we can learn that:
- Jabez was born out of sorrow or pain
- Jabez had brothers
- Jabez was considered “honorable.”
- Jabez’s life, prayer, and request were important enough to be noted in the Bible.
That’s really it. But if we really study and look at these two verses, we can learn a ton. And that’s exactly what we are going to do today.
The Meaning Behind Jabez’s Name
In Hebrew, culture names were a BIG deal. It implied what the parents believed the child would become or their destiny in life. And a lot of time children were named after what the mother or father were experiencing at the time.
But names were also a BIG deal to God. This is why you see God change names like Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5).
Jabez means sorrow or to grieve.
Here is the meaning in Hebrew (Strong’s Concordance)
3258. יַעְבֵּץ Yaʿbets, yah-bates´; from an unused root probably meaning to grieve; sorrowful;
It’s a real bummer that Jabez’s mom felt that she should name her son that. Now, it seems from what we read that she had a difficult labor, and that’s what gave him his name. It could also imply that there was some other kind of grievance she experienced outside of the birth pain that caused her to name him Jabez. Not 100% clear.
All we know is that she was so consumed at that moment that she labeled her child sorrow and basically set his destiny up. Thanks, mom!
This still happens to us in this day and age. We get so caught up in the here, and now, we make a hasted decision that can affect both ours and other people’s futures.
The Real Prayer of Jabez
You would be surprised how many people have read only paraphrased or personal versions of the prayer of Jabez.
With only two key verses about Jabez. We must see what it says straight from scripture and not paraphrase. So, I thought It would be good to provide you with two other translations of Jabez. You can review the one above in the KJV.
Below you will find the Amplified version and the NIV. These versions tend to read easier than KJV. You can check out more translations of the verses here: The Prayer of Jabez Bible Translations. I always recommend checking out different translations!
AMPLIFIED VERSION – Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. – 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION – Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me 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 4:9-10
3 Key Points on the Power of the Prayer of Jabez
In this section, I want to share some insight I received on reading and studying the prayer of Jabez. Here are three keys that are powerful truths we can apply to our lives.
1. Jabez Was Humble
It says Jabez called out to the Lord. He realized that he was in need of God’s intervention.
He knew that blessing, protection, and increase could only come from God. That on his own he wouldn’t be able to prosper.
In our day and age, we tend to think all success or living the “blessed” life can be achieved with hard work, the right connections, and, well… money.
But Jabez understood an eternal truth…that God is the one who opens doors, gives favor, provides, and protects.
2. Jabez Had Fatih – He Didn’t Let His Name Him
This is what I really love about Jabez. He had incredible faith. He didn’t let his name “sorrow”, his family, or whatever else was going on in his life to define him.
And the BIG one He didn’t let it define his view of God!
Honestly, in my eyes…that’s incredible. It’s easy when you have experienced pain and sorry to view God in a different light. But he didn’t….
He didn’t have a pity party….
He didn’t walk away from God…
He didn’t say, “God, maybe…you could help me…”
Jabez asked God to change his future, and He did.
3. Jabez Understood The Power Of Prayer
In our modern day, I see a lot of Christians say, “Oh, yeah, God is going to bless me.” …” Oh, He’s a good God. He will take care of that!”
And those declarations of faith are GOOD. But do we PRAY over those things we want God to bless and take care of? It’s easy to say it to your friend or family member. Going into the secret place is another thing, and bringing that request before Him.
Jabez brought it before God. He didn’t let just think, “Oh, yeah, God is going to bless me.”
He understood the power of prayer. He knew that for those desires to come to fulfillment, he needed to call out to God and make them known.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
I remember when I was younger, around 17 years old. I was at a church service, and we had a guest speaker that night. He was ministering by calling people out of the congregation. It was a packed night, probably around 400-500 people.
He picked people out of the audience one by one to minister over them. I remember sitting there saying to myself, “Man, I’ll never get picked….” Talk about a little pity party.
That’s when I felt the presence of God so strongly and heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “You receive not because you ask not.”
Talk about convicted! I repented and asked the Lord about being called out and ministered to. I brought my request to Him.
No joke, the speaker had his back towards my section while I said that prayer. . All of sudden, he spun around, looked, and pointed at me. Long story short, he calls me out, prays, and gives me a word.
His word impacted me greatly, but what impacted me, even more was what the Lord taught me.
You need to bring things to prayer. Make your request known! (Philippians 4:6) There is power in prayer! It doesn’t mean everything you ask for, you get. God is not an automatic dispenser or vending machine of whatever you want. But when we line up with His will and put Him first, He is faithful to answer us. Sometimes it’s a yes, sometimes no, and sometimes it’s Not yet.
Jabez understood, making your request known!
What The Prayer of Jabez is NOT About
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that Jabez’s prayer is powerful and anointed. And it is.
But it’s not some kind of formula. What made the prayer powerful were two key factors.
- The person praying it: Their heart, motives, faith, and calling in life.
- God who answered it: He is all powerful, all loving, and all understanding.
It’s NOT About Repetition
Jabez’s prayer is not about repetition. You can pray the exact prayer till the cows come home, and it doesn’t mean it will be answered.
You can even reword the prayer to fit you. It’s still the same thing. It’s not the words that will get you the answer.
Your words must be sincere and come from the heart when you pray them to God.
It’s NOT About Selfishness
It’s pretty awesome that Jabez’s territory was expanded, and he was blessed. That’s legit. But it doesn’t mean that everything we desire or want is going to be given to us by God.
I mentioned this earlier, but God is not a vending machine. He provides for us, and He does answer prayer. But He is full of wisdom and knows what is good and bad for us.
Jabez’s prayer is NOT about getting stuff. It’s about bringing your request before God.
It’s NOT About An Easy Fix
It’s easy to read those two little verses and think, BAM. Jabez woke up the next morning, and someone gave him 4500 acres, 10,000 sheep, a 7-person tent with a swimming pool in the back. And then, to top it off, nothing ever bad happened again. The End.
That’s my kind of story! Ha
But that’s probably not what happened. It says, “God granted his request…” this could look so different from what we think.
It may have taken Jabez years to expand his territory. It may have happened all at once or little by little.
What did God’s blessing look like?
Was it a family? Never going hungry? Not getting sick? Being surrounded by friends and not enemies? Awesome-looking sheep? All of the above?
When did it all take place? Or was it slow and gradual??
It’s not an easy fix and doesn’t always look like what we think it did. What we know is this…Jabez was faithful to pray, and God was faithful to answer.
How Can We Pray Like Jabez?
If you read earlier how Jabez’s prayer is not a formula, you will know I am not a huge fan of reciting prayers repetitiously.
You can pray like Jabez by learning from him. Prayer needs to come from a sincere place in your heart.
|“God, please bless me”||“Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed“|
|“God help me to fulfill the calling you have given me.”||“enlarge my coast“|
|“God be close to me every day of my life.”||“that thine hand might be with me“|
|“God protect me from evil and temptation.”||“that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me“|
That is really the gist of Jabez’s prayer. Let it come from a really deep place within you. Don’t make it a formula.
May Jabez’s Prayer Inspire You
I hope the prayer of Jabez has inspired and encouraged in your understanding of God and prayer. I want to end with this powerful quote from R.A Torrey.
God has not changed, and His ear is just as quick to hear the voice of real prayer, and His hand is just as long and strong to save; as it ever was. – R.A. Torrey (more prayer quotes…)
Feel free to leave me a comment below! I would love to know what God is doing in your life.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…