Who was Jabez? He is only mentioned 3 times in the Bible. The first is in 1 Chronicles 2:55 where Jabez is the name of a town: "And the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez..." This town in Judah was apparently located near Bethlehem. Then Jabez is mentioned again in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, 'I gave birth to him in pain.' Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, '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."
Jabez was not using prayer as a formula to get something from God, rather he was calling upon God to help him accomplish the promises of God!
The Prayer of Jabez 1Chronicles 4:10 Five lessons Jabez teaches us when asking of God 1. The very first thing Scripture tells us about Jabez is that he cried to the God of Israel. Jabez states God"s lordship and headship over his life. When you pray, begin by acknowledging who God is! 2. "That you would bless me" Jabez not only recognizes God as the one and only true God he also acknowledges that blessings come from God alone. Are you chasing broken promises and blessings that the world tries to entice you with? Are you striving toward prosperity on your own strength? When you pray, do it with a heart fully invested in the blessings of God. 3. "that you would multiply my territory" Many think that Jabez is simply referring to physical land when asking to multiply territory. However, if we look at the lineage of Jabez we can understand that he is not merely speaking of terms of wealth and prosperity but in terms of impacting the kingdom of God. He wanted his spiritural territory to increase, to claim generations for the Lord of Israel. Do you need to claim or reclaim some of the land Satan has taken from you? When you pray, ask God to multiply your territory and to do more through you! 4. "your hand be with me" Jabez wanted God to be in every moment of his day. He understood the power of God's hand to protect and to lead in the right direction. Blessings will become curses if it is not God's hand providing and guiding. When you pray, request more than blessings and provisions but that God's hand would lead you through any circumstances and trials that come your way. That is the greatest blessing. 5. "keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain" The name Jabez literally means "born with pain". His own mother named him because of the paint she endured in labor! When Jabez prays, he speaks against the testimony of his name and lets go of the shame it covered him in. When you pray, come to God vulnerable and ready for Him to turn your weakness into His Glory!
I’ve had some donors to our church ask questions like “How will Project Jabez impact or effect The Grove? Our community? The world?” So, I wanted to give you just a few answers to those questions.
By enhancing our ability to minister to children,
Creating excitement in and through our Children’s Ministry,
Developing a desire in children to want to learn; and
By being a visual for children that says we care about them and their education.
Making more room for educating our teenagers (there are so many we can’t reach due to lack of space for them to hang out),
Better utilizing space to educate our young adults and college age students,
Creating a sense of unity in our young couples,
Allowing newly-wed couples to have space to build relationships; and
Opening opportunities for people to serve within our faith family.
Updating and renovating our building to be good stewards of what God has given us,
Adding additional space to allow fellowship and building relationships; and
By creating possible Wednesday night fellowship for everyone.
All of these ways are said with an understanding that we are not just making church more comfortable for us, although the renovations will be nice, Amen. But, I believe with all of my heart that our Lord’s desire is that we be prepared for Him to add people to our fellowship. It’s not a concept of “if you build it, they will come,” but rather “they ARE coming, so be prepared.” We should have an avenue of ministry in every area where we can possibly meet the needs of our community through the message of the gospel. These are just a few thoughts. Friends, we have been blessed with a nice facility for worship that is paid for and I am not wanting to drag us into debt and/or hinder any ministry opportunities God may have for us. But, our educational space needs improving and expanding. I do know that part of the vision God has for our church is to have space for ministry such as reaching people with the gospel, making disciples, building relationships with the community, building faith-filled lives that can stand the many tests of life through teaching people to read and understand the Bible, and building a faith-filled community within our church that can withstand the temptations of Satan by supporting each other through the fellowship of believers.
Think about this. What if we have a few families, at once, come to visit our church and they decide to visit Sunday School? When they enter into almost any class in our adult space, they see that it is already packed, wall to wall, and they decide that our church doesn’t have room for their family. What is the result? They don’t come back. Some of our classes are in, what seems to be, a closet to visitors because they are so small. And, our youth classes meet in a parsonage with so many unfinished repairs that it is a turn off for any visiting family. We’ve had 6 families visit our church in the past 2 months and I think our limited space is hindering the possibility of them joining our fellowship. The Jabez project will allow a few things. One, we will have a new, larger children’s educational area for classes from preschool through our youth, which will allow the classrooms we currently have to be used to improve our adult classes. Two, it will include larger nursery rooms for our infants and toddlers. This is greatly needed as we have a large number of babies in our family, now becoming toddlers, with a whole new crew of babies on the way! What a blessing to be able to better serve them and their parents! Thirdly, the project will give us better opportunities to fellowship with each other and the community, with a new kitchen and dining area. We will finally be able to host larger children, youth, couple and community events because we will have a safe, spacious place to do so! My prayer is that, through this note, you will see a very small portion of my heart as your pastor and become a vital instrument in meeting our goals for Project Jabez. God will extend our territory if we seek His will, Amen.