Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Jabez Effect - a journey begins...

Several years ago, our church family studied the prayer of Jabez. I don’t really remember seeing immediate changes, but I know that the period following was one of my most active and rewarding as a Christian. I’m not sure if I ever connected the two events, but as I have been reflecting over the past week or so, I now realize the effect one had on the other, and the results I experienced from the study and incorporating the Prayer of Jabez into my life.

Unfortunately, it was a short-lived activity at the time, and I must confess that eventually over time my Christian walk has settled back into a much more boring routine. Oh, God is in my life, but over the past few years it has certainly lacked the urgency and dynamic that it had during the time after the study. Not that my walk isn’t good, but it’s not GREAT like it was.

These days I’m in a new church and lately the focus has again turned to prayer. For the first few weeks, it all seemed pretty routine and not much I hadn’t already learned and put into practice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prayer warrior, that’s not my special gift by far, but I learned early the value of prayer and that God does in fact answer our prayers, so conversing with God has always been a part of my Christian life. I was fortunate to have good teachers when I first became a believer – this was a gift from God.

Anyway, back to the present. The sermons have gotten deeper, and I’ve been taking them in, making a renewed commitment to set aside time on a daily basis, as well as making an effort at journaling my prayers. Definitely not a strong point of mine! Then, as I’ve been praying and focusing, I remembered the Jabez prayer, and decided to get my book out.

For anyone who’s not familiar with this, there was a book done by Bruce Wilkinson regarding a small section in I Chronicles. Actually only 2 verses, but Jabez prays to God the following prayer and the bible records that God heard him and answered his prayer. The prayer itself consists of 4 parts, and basically asks God for blessings and prosperity. When we first started studying it, I was a bit uneasy, as it smacked to me of the old “name it, claim it” game. But when you really study it, you soon will realize that you’re not necessarily asking God for monetary blessings. In fact, you’re simply asking God to use you and to strengthen you, to help you do his work.

So, I’ve made a commitment to incorporate the requests that Jabez made into my own prayer time, and to set aside a specific time each day for prayer for the remainder of 2007. Here on my blog, I will record the results and we will see what happens. Actually, I’m very excited because I know how short the time I did this was last time, and I now know the results that came from that.

Note: In honor of the author, I’m not going to detail any more about the prayer itself. But I've posted the link to the author’s web site. It’s a very short book ~ 8 chapters in all ~ and comes in a variety of versions. I’d encourage anyone interested to pick up a copy. I also know from experience that when we read a book, God speaks to each of us differently, so the lines that may have impacted me the most, may have a different effect on you. Bottom line – buy the book!

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