Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Prayer of Jabez

"Oh, that you would wonderfully bless me and help me in my work;

Please be with me in all that I do and keep me from all evil and disaster."

And God granted him his request.

I Chronicles 4 :10


"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 Chronicles 4:10

The first thing to note in reading the Prayer of Jabez is that it has a context. Earlier the Bible says "Jabez was more honourable than his brothers."

Likely Hitler said a similar prayer and yet his wasn't answered. The Bible further says that the sins of fathers will pass to the sins of their children. Therefore even when it appears briefly that the dishonorable are succeeding it comes at a price. We blandly accept the 'genetics' of the physical world but balk at accepting 'genetics' in the spiritual world. Further if we don't believe in an afterlife, it doesn't mean necessarily that we won't encounter one.

That said, the Bible is a Holy book and reading it one is always encouraged to ask for God's guidance. Praying to God before reading it, asking to see what it is you need to see today is what people do with Holy books. The sacred isn't something that is 'taken' but rather something that is 'given'. Grace is the gift of God.

That said, note the two interpretations. I expect that both interpreters asked for guidance and were given it when they translated this scripture. Further the words and meanings of history are rarely what we see in them today. Words and meanings change though messages stay the same.

The Prayer of Jabez says that honorable men can ask for help for themselves and it will be granted. Elsewhere we are encouraged to pray for others and be 'other centered'. In asking for God's hand in our lives, His guidance and his protection and success in honorable endeavours is what Jabez does.

Most importantly the Bible says it works. And the majority of those uneducated and educated believe in the power of prayer.

I'm praying for you and me today. But let's face it, if I don't know you I'll probably just generally 'hallmark' card prayer you. If you're closer to me I'll put you at the top of my prayer list. And given that I'm not much but I sure think of myself a lot I'll be praying mostly for myself. That's the nature of being a 'sinner'. Saint's are only advanced sinners. The opposite of sinner is God. I'm not there yet. Sainthood is not even on the horizon because like Jabez I want help with work, expanded territory, and less pain and protection from evil. Sainthood seems to come with more work, more pain and tends to attract evil. Maybe the darkness is more apparent nearest the light.

Wes Hazlitt says that, 'it's always darkest near the dawn so hang on."

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