The Prayer of Jabez
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
And Jabez was more honorable than his brothers: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bore him with sorrow.…

We will without any formal divisions simply endeavour to travel through the petitions offered up in this prayer of Jabez. First petition: "Oh that Thou wouldest bless me."

1. There are many apparent blessings that are real curses.

(1)  Health. Its tendency is to remove far away all thoughts of death and eternity; to make a man more or less satisfied with the things of the present; and to draw comfort from the creature instead of the Creator.

(2)  Money. It shuts up the heart; stiffens pride and becomes a temptation and a snare.

(3)  The good opinion and praise of men.

2. There are apparent curses which often are real blessings.

(1)  Ill-health.

(2)  Poverty.

(3)  The scourge of the tongue.

3. There are blessings which are beth apparent and real.

(1)  The fear of the Lord.

(2)  Some intimation of God's favour.

(3)  The revelation of Christ to the soul.

(4)  Unreserved trust in God.

(5)  An appetite after God's Word.Second petition: "And enlarge my coast." A coast means a boundary line, such as divides one territory from another, or terminates a country, as the sea-coast is the boundary of our island. Every quickened soul has a coast — the territory of inward experience which is limited and bounded by the line that the Holy Spirit has drawn in his conscience.

1. Some have a narrow experience, they cannot get beyond doubts and fears, guilt and convictions, with at times earnest desires for mercy and pardon.

2. Others have their coast a little more extended. They are enabled to hope in God's mercy, and anchor in His promises.

3. Others can through faith rest in Christ's blood and righteousness, having received some intimation of favour, but not brought into the liberty of the gospel.

4. Others are brought into the life, light, liberty, joy and peace of the gospel. The living soul cannot but earnestly desire to have his coast enlarged. More light, more life, more liberty, more feeling, more knowledge of God in Christ, more faith, hope, and love. To have his heart enlarged in prayer — meditation — communion, in affection to the people of God. Third petition: "And that Thy hand might be with me." A living child wants to see and feel a fatherly hand with him and over him, going before him temporally, holding him up spiritually, clearing his path, and giving him testimonies that what is done in his fear shall terminate in his approbation. Fourth petition: "And that Thou wouldest keep me from evil." It is a base representation of the gospel of grace to say that it leads to licentiousness. Every child of God will be more or less frequently offering up this prayer. Shun as you would a pestilence any one who makes light of sin. Evil is a grief, a burden to every living soul.

(J. C. Philpot.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.

WEB: Jabez was more honorable than his brothers: and his mother named him Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him with sorrow."

The Prayer of Jabez
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