Only two verses in our Bible are dedicated to Jabez. Outside of his family line, there is nothing that we really know about him, except two of the most important things. Firstly, we learn what he depended on God for his life and secondly, we learn what God thought of his life long prayer and desires. There is much we can glean from this man's prayer for our prayer life as christians today.
Bless me and enlarge my coast
There are some that teach a prosperity gospel that if I follow Christ, all of my financial desires will come true in this life. What they fail to teach is that all my financial desires in my natural state will never satisfy. What Jabez actually prayed for was a blessing (true happiness) and for a miracle (expand my territory) to be done in his life. True happiness in our life can only be realized when we receive what the Lord has purposed for us and the miracle, well that can only occur with the power of God. You see, Jabez was not entitled to any more land then what was given to him by inheritance back in Old Testament times. Yet, this did not prevent him from asking God to do something that he did not have the strength to do on his own. In our life, it could mean praying for unsaved family, desires for assembly growth, perhaps even career demands, and financial constraints. These items can feel overwhelming to us and out of reach. May this prayer of Jabez challenge all of us that if it is in the mind of God, there is no prayer too miraculous for Him to do in our lives.
Thine hand might be with me
How often do we pray for God's hand to be with us in all that we do? Belshazzar learned too late the consequence of the hand of God against him when the hand wrote on the wall to foretell his demise. In contrast, Elijah knew what it was like to look into the hot sun and see a cloud in the shape of a hand that brought rain and blessing to Israel. Like Jabez, we should remember the importance of having the hand of God guide and direct our paths. This should be a key request in our prayer life as well.
Keep me from evil
No one is free from evil creeping into their life. Our greatest war is not with the physical, but that which is spiritual. Jabez did not have access to Ephesians where we as christians can learn about the armour of God. However, Jabez knew the premise of that teaching. He asked God to keep him from evil because evil only brings sorrow and regret. The Lord Himself taught His disciples to pray for deliverance from evil and so must we, if we are going to overcome the attacks of the enemy. Only God can keep us from such temptations.
The end of verse ten sums up the prayer of Jabez so nicely. It says, "And God granted him that which he requested." May our prayer life be filled with the same desires and motivations as Jabez, that God may grant us the same portion.