And Jabez called out to the God of Israel, “If only You would bless me and enlarge my territory! May Your hand be with me and keep me from harm, so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted the request of Jabez. (1 Chronicles 4:10)
We could say Jabez practiced the Spiritual principle ” You don’t have because you don’t ask” (see James 4:2) when he asked God for a lot. Boldness in prayer delights God’s heart. He is thrilled when His children barge into the throne room and trust Him to be generous with them.
Some would wisely warn us to watch out for wrong motives. Certainly, our selfishness can distort any prayer or longing, but too much caution can cripple our spiritual lives. If we are bold enough to enter the throne room and ask for great things, we open ourselves to God so He can correct impure motives. Interaction with God is the open door for booth blessing and correction, and to be honest, most of us need both.
Notice the content of Jabez’s prayer. He asked God to enlarge his territory. In that day land and livestock were signs of wealth, and Jabez unapologetically asked God to bless him. But he didn’t just want to be rich; he wanted to experience God’s presence and pleasure. He prayed that he would sense the hand of God in his life, and he also asked that God’s hand would direct him and protect him from evil. The part of Jabez’s request that tells us the most about his heart is the last part “that I may not cause pain.” He was a humble man who recognized his sinful nature’s penchant for selfish gain at others’ expense, so he asked God to guide him away from anything that might harm anyone else.
The writer tells us that God answered Jabez’s prayer. It doesn’t say when or how, but we learn that God, like any loving Father, delights in giving good gifts to grateful children. Boldness and humility are the ingredients of prayer that delight our Father.