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Jabez - Ambition in Prayer

J Oswald Sanders

Jabez - Ambition in Prayer


O that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast. 1 Chron. 4:9,10



There is an ambition in prayer which is well-pleasing to God. He is not honoured by the presenting of minimum requests. Because we are coming to the throne of a great King, we should honour Him by bringing worthy petitions. Granting them will not strain His resources.


Jabez is an example of ambitious praying which merits our emulation. That his praying met the conditions of divine approval is attested by the divine response:


"And God granted him that which he requested".


Despite the hereditary handicap hinted at in his name (Sorrowful) his prayer life lifted him far above the level of his contemporaries. "Jabez was more distinguished than his brothers." From the graveyard of the dead whose names are recorded in these opening chapters, he alone is singled out for honourable mention. And it was his prayer which gained him this fame.


His intensity of aspiration is evidenced in its opening clause - the vocative plea of Holy Writ. He would be content with no ordinary blessing from the hand of God. He appealed for an extension of his boundaries. He was not "content to fill a little space" for God when he could fill a great one. The unselfishness and purity of his motives is guaranteed by the answer granted. Such ambition will prevent our spiritual stature from shrinking.


With true realism he asked that God's hand might be with him to equip for larger responsibilities. Because enlarged territory inevitably attracted increased attention on the part of his enemies, he pleaded for God's environing and protecting presence. His prayer antedated the prayer of our Lord, "I pray that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one".


God is still looking for men and women whose ambition expresses itself in such a prayer as that of Jabez.


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