The prayer of Jabez is found in the first book of chronicles chapter four verse nine to ten. The prayer was recited by a man named Jabez, whose name we are made to understand meant “pain” in the original Hebrew. His mother named him so because she gave birth to him under extreme pain.
Little is known about our protagonist. Other than he was honourable, at least more than his brothers. We can also be forgiven for believing he was a descendant of Judah.
Not much is really known about him since he is only mentioned once in the Bible, but he is believed to be the son of Koz. The prayer has had a major impact on most people who pray it and has even given rise to a best selling book by Bruce Wilkinson. The prayer its self goes like this:
Prayer of Jabez
Jabez was more honoured 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 Chron. 4:9–10)
Prayer of Jabez
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.
Prayer of Jabez Book
There has been quite a number of literature on the subject. But the most well known is a bestselling book by Bruce Wilkinson. He wrote a controversial book about the prayer which sold millions of copies. This was despite the opinion of many religious leaders and experts that some of his premises were off.
firstly he was presumptuous in assuring his readers that God always answers.
secondly was his assertion that you should repeat the prayer over and over like a mantra. This was in direct conflict with what Jesus Christ taught us about prayer. Our Lord Jesus forbade the act of “vain repetitions” in his teachings on prayer.
Bruce Wilkinson also painted an inadequate view of prayer. Painting a picture of a life full of incredible blessing, ever increasing ministry opportunities and financial blessings which is unrealistic.
He also had a defective view on providence. The Heavenly Father is portrayed as an individual provider instead of the sovereign God who is actively involved in all life.
Despite the criticism Bruce Wilkinsons book managed to sell millions of copies and influence a number of his readers lives.