“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
I read this book a couple years ago when I got it as a birthday present. I started reading it that night and stayed up late into the night to finish it. It was incredible. Just a few days ago I found it again and started reading and couldn’t stop. Now I’ve taken to reading parts of it each night and I thought it’d be cool to post some thoughts I had on the what I’ve read so far.
In his book, The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, Bruce Wilkinson talks about a man named Jabez and how his little prayer made the writer of 1 Chronicles “..stop mid-drone, clear his throat, and switch tactics. ‘Ah, wait a minute!’ he seems to say. ‘You just gotta know something about this guy named Jabez. He stands head and shoulders about the rest!’” Something about Jabez’s prayer was special. Mr. Wilkinson goes into greater detail about what made his prayer so special in his book. The first being that Jabez asked God to bless him.. indeed. [block quotes are from the book]
And he prayed. He didn’t just sort-of pray, either. When he prayed, he started off with the biggest, most outrageous prayer he could imagine… “Oh, that You would bless me indeed.”
Can you feel the intense desire behind his request? In Hebrew (the language 1 Chronicles was written in), adding indeed is like adding five exclamation points, or writing a request in capital letters and underlining it. That’s how Jabez prayed that day.
If I could make a movie to capture the meaning of this moment, I would show young Jabez standing before a barrier as big as the Great Wall of China. Sunk into the stone is a huge iron door that’s sealed shut. Jabez is staring at it. He knows there’s no way over it and no way around.
But raising his hands to heaven, the young man cries out, “Father, oh, Father! Please bless me! And what I really mean is…bless me a lot!”
With the last word still echoing against the wall, Jabez hears a tremendous crack. Then a groan. Then a rumble as the huge gate swings away from him in a wide arc. There, stretching to the horizon, are fields of blessings.
And Jabez steps forward into a completely different life.
God wants to bless you. You just have to ask. Jabez believed in a big God. He knew that God loved him and wanted to bless him more then he could imagine. “To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for supernatural favor. When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We’re sincerely asking for the kind of good things that only God has the power to know about or give.” -Bruce Wilkinson
Praying for God’s blessing doesn’t mean asking for more stuff just so we can spend it on ourselves. It means asking for God’s favor so we can serve Him better and be a blessing to others. Do you want God’s blessings and want them indeed? They are waiting to be yours. But there’s a catch.
.. -if you don’t ask for His blessing, you forfeit those that will come to you only be asking. God’s blessings in our lives are limited only by us, not by His resources, power, or willingness to give.
I’m taking the Jabez 30 day challenge. To make Jabez’s prayer my own and to ask for God to bless me, enlarge my territory, that He’d keep His hand upon me and keep me from evil. This book is a really good inspirational book, I’d encourage you all to read it if you get the chance. On to reading the next part. :D
I was just reading a book (again) called Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris and I was remembering how much I LOVED the book! I’m reading it along with their study guide that just came out and I thought it’d be interesting to post some answers to the questions for this chapter and see if anyone else had any thoughts. You don’t have to have read the book to answer, most are pretty general questions but if you want the book you can buy it from their website. :D (I highly recommend buying the book. worth every penny and then some!) my answers are in italics. I’m also not very good at writing what I’m thinking on paper, and I wasn’t too concerned about proper “paragraph form” when I wrote my answers so sorry if they seem a bit sporadic. :)
Chapter Three: The Myth of Adolescence
An elephant is an incredibly powerful beast that can be restrained by a piece of twine. (No kidding.) And that powerful animal just might be you, say Alex and Brett. Why? Because teens today buy into “the Myth of Adolescence.” That myth is an assumption that the teen years can’t add up to much and are meant to be spent as some sort of vacation from responsibility. Unfortunately, those low expectations end up trapping and limiting teens for no good reason. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even the word teenager, the authors point out, is a recent invention. We can choose to live by higher standards. We can leave childish ways behind and grow up. We can decide to do hard things. That, say the twins, is where the Rebelution starts.
Questions for Discussion or Reflection:
1) Have you ever visited a zoo, seen beautiful and powerful animals caged by glass or bars, and felt that something was terribly wrong? If so, talk about it. Why do you think some teens might identify with a wild but caged bird or animal?
We have so much potential to do things! Hard things! But since no one expects teens to be capable of much, we never try. We’re caged with the lie that as teens we can’t do much.
2) Do you think that harmless-sounding lies about the teen years could be holding back both you and other teens you know? Talk about it.
talk about it. ;)
3) What was your reaction to the stories of George, David, and Clarissa (pages 31-32)? Have you ever thought you could accomplish a lot more than you are now?
incredible stories! while reading them I thought, “wow, the kids I know that are 12, 13, 14 would never be able to do that. I’D never be able to do that.” then I realized.. thats what we should be able to do! if we tried there’s no telling what we could do. but most would never try for fear of failing. I know I have so much time and energy to do a lot more then I am now.
4) What do your parents expect you to do at home in an average week? Do you deliver? Be honest. How much time and effort does it take to do what’s asked of you? Do you think your parents require too much or too little?
sad to say, not much. well, at least less then what I could be able to accomplish. (note: that does not mean I want more chores, dad and mom. ;) ) in general.. school, chores, errands.. time – not a lot. effort – I probably don’t give it my best effort. just enough to get it done.
5) Have you ever found yourself behaving very differently—and accomplishing a lot more—simply because someone expected you to? Describe the experience.
for sure! in one area, gymnastics, when my teacher would tell me to demonstrate a trick that I really wasn’t very good at, I’d do it to the best of my abilities. I’d try a lot harder to land it perfect, to be perfectly straight, etc. because I wanted to be able to show her that I could do it. but when it was just me practicing by myself, I’d have no motivation to do it more then just good.
Alright, now its your turn. ;) anyone want to answer? you don’t even have to answer all the questions. I’m loving this study guide, I think I will start posting more of these questions along with my answers. They really are good questions to think about.
“Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see”
“Well, I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way You’ve seen the people all along”
Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath
I was listening to this song on the radio on the way home this morning and I really loved the lyrics to the chorus/bridge. it reminded me of when we were in Africa a couple years ago and Ladd (the director person in charge of the 80+ people in the group) was telling us at the start of the week that we should pray and “ask God to break your heart for the things that break His heart.” I thought that was a great way to put it. If we really want to do what God wants, then we need to be able to know His heart. and what better way to know then to ask. :D I’m doing a study for Awana and the book is called “God-colored glasses.” its about how to develop a biblical worldview, but that title “God-colored glasses” is really cool. what if we had God-colored glasses, how would we view the world? what would we see differently? how would our attitudes change?
on another note, if you haven’t yet seen the movie Fireproof I highly recommend you go see it. Like now. go. now. seriously. you can look up the nearest theater on their website, and also see trailers and pictures and lots of other stuff. :D I went with my dad, brother, sister, and friend to see it and wow. its powerful. bring a box of tissues with you if you are the kind of person who cries easily. The Rebelution posted an article about it and I really liked what they said about it. the movie was such an incredible picture of the love God has for us and well as the kind of love we need to show others, especially to your spouse. the tagline is “Never leave your partner behind.” so go see it, its worth the drive if its not at a theater close by. we drove an hour to go see it, and it was worth it. :D