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.
This is a verse in the New King James Version of the Bible from 1 Chronicles 4:10. It seems almost misplaced with the more than 500 names of the Hebrew family tree. Bruce Wilkinson explains that Jabez means "pain." Name meanings were a big thing in Jabez's time. A person's name defined him. Jabez wanted what God did in his life to define him, not his name.
Bruce Wilkinson explains the verse, line by line.
Oh that you would bless me indeed It's not wrong to ask for God to bless you the way He wants to bless you. Jabez didn't ask God to bless him with specific things, he just asked to be blessed. This is not being selfish, it's asking God to give you all He has for you.
And enlarge my territory Jabez wanted a bigger "territory" so he could do more for God. He knew he was born for more than just being known as one who caused pain. When our territory gets bigger we are reaching more people for God.
That Your hand would be with me Jabez knew he needed to depend on God to be able to do things for Him. Having God's hand on your life is having God's presence and power. Jabez wanted to be directed by God.
And that You would keep me from evil Jabez knew that with all of God's blessings, he might fall into temptation of thinking how great he was. Also, because we are doing what God wants us to do, the devil is going to try to stop us, by sending evil our way.
This book can be misinterpreted very easily. People think that by praying this prayer that they will be blessed with every desire of their heart. The truth is that you will, if you are praying the way God would have you pray. Our goal in life should be to lead others to the saving grace of God that we found. If we are loving God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength like the Bible says, then we will pray Jabez's prayer the way it is intended.
I have been praying this prayer daily for more than ten years because I want live the life God has planned for me and not miss out on any blessings from Him. I want all I do to be directed by God and not let evil keep me from doing all I can for God. You have to read through this book a few times to fully understand what the verse is all about. I would recommend this book for everyone. Check out this book and see how this seemingly misplaced verse can change your prayer life.
My edition was released in 2000 and does not have the Contribution by David Kopp.