Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.
1 Chronicles 4:10
PART II: A PRAYER FOR INFLUENCE
One may think that having been mentioned just once in one verse of the entire Bible would make you less influential or somewhat obscure. But not Jabez. Even though he has nothing, and has a name associated with pain and lack and limitations – he is now listed among the greats of the scripture. Jabez’s prayer is one of the noblest found in the O.T. In fact, a few years ago a book written about the life of Jabez became
…an international bestseller, topping the New York Times best seller list in 2001, selling over nine million copies… (thepauls.wordpress.com).
Because of one audacious prayer, one uncommon act of faith, Jabez now stands out among the rest because he dared to pray a selfless prayer. A prayer that ultimately attracted the heart of God to unleash upon him 4 blessings.
The bible says he prayed, “enlarge my territory” – and ‘God granted’ his request. May the Lord enlarge my territory means – to have a progressive growth, enlarge what I have and what I am, beyond my comfort zone, beyond what I am doing now. That God may take your few loaves and a fish, multiply them to feed thousands. The Targum renders this part of the verse as:
multiply my borders with disciples.”
In other words – enlarge my sphere of influence. More than just casting out the Canaanite and acquiring land for the sake of material possession or personal security and wealth, Jabez is praying for people he can impact… he is looking for disciples he can influence for the glory of God. What is influence?
Influence is the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others… dictionary
Some people use whatever platform and influence they have to take pride in and glorify themselves or even to use and abuse others. But God wants for us to ask for and have and use our influence to impact others for the glory of God – advancing his kingdom. There is nothing wrong with being blessed by God with financial and material blessings. There is nothing wrong with being blessed with a platform to showcase our gifts, talents and creativity. But what we do with that kind of influence matters to God.
That is why God told the church of Ephesus to – Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Their lampstand was their sphere of influence.
Everybody has a sphere of influence. It is in your home, your church, your small group, your neighborhood, your classroom or office. But God is calling us to enlarge, extend that spheres of influence. He is inviting us to get out of our comfort zones and take territory fo the kingdom of God.
Application and prayer
Whether it is writing blogs or books, I pray that the Lord will enlarge your sphere of influence. If you sing or serve in any capacity, I pray that the Lord will enlarge your sphere of influence. Whatever you do, whatever mission or call you have on your life today, I pray that God will help you take territory for his kingdom and impact more people than you ever imagined.
But more importantly, I pray that through your life and your testimony someone may come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ today.
Thanks for reading and sharing – the conversation is ongoing!
- The Prayer of Jabez, Modern Day Gospel Challenge! (psalmsofpraisewomensministries.wordpress.com)
- The Prayer of Jabez, Modern Day Gospel Challenge (2)! (psalmsofpraisewomensministries.wordpress.com)