Chris Tomlin O Come all Ye Faithful

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Jabez and I

I was reading my segment of the Bible for today (I am reading it through in a year) and came upon the now famous Prayer of Jabez:
 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request. 1 Chron 4:9

To me, this prayer seemed selfish when I first heard it.  I almost never pray for myself...and that is just foolish.  If I rely on others to pray for me, then they may not pray wisely or in line with what God's plans are for me.  I have thought about this before...that my prayers to God need to be for the purpose of praying for my sanctification.  For my provision.  For my relationships. For endurance. And according this this verse we are also to pray for relief from pain or even for an absence of it.

The question arises as to whether or not this prayer should be a model for us.  Yes, God granted Jabez his wish...but that was God's will for him...that does not mean that it is his will for everyone. HOWEVER, it cannot hurt to ask God to remove pain and to grant wealth. God is so faithful to me in answering the hundreds of prayers I pray to him daily....often very picayune requests...yet they are not so small that God is not interested in granting them. Maybe God wants to bless me but is just waiting for ME to request it. 

The words to the song "Blessings" assume that we do pray  first and foremost for ourselves.

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise   ((excerpt - lyrics by Laura Story))
 But I don't.
I do not ask God to bless me or grant me wealth.  As each need arises I put it in God's lap but I do not ask for blessings beyond that request.  Should I?  It feels odd to pray for myself. I think if I were to start praying for myself I would pray firstly for my sanctification.  I would pray to defeat sins in my life. I would pray that our needs would be met and an occasional blessing thrown in.

I certainly have been grown up  as by the chorus of that song.....I have had a thousand sleepless nights...and I do know that God is near. I've seen God work his mighty hands on my behalf...despite my physical suffering.Despite my mental suffering.

I'm going to try Jabez's pray on for size.  But it will be asked with great humility and some apology because it is an audacious prayer...and yet God felt pleased to honor it.
Maybe he will bless me too.


 
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