What does it mean to pray aright? If there is a right approach to prayer, what is it? This approach can be explained from the prayer of Jabez.
Have you read the book: Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson? I have read it also.
Have you prayed the Jabez’ prayer? I have religiously repeated it.
Have you gotten the God treatment as Jabez? I am not sure. The following thoughts will give clue to the reason you are having a different result from Jabez and this is not the exact perspective as the book “Prayer of Jabez”.
These were my thoughts as the preacher introduces his sermon, mentioning the book, Prayer of Jabez and the author’s name.
The end of the matter is that “God granted him his request”
It is not enough to pray the prayer of Jabez without doing what Jabez did.
It was not the prayer alone that made Jabez honorable but prayer and an honorable life.
He was a man who trusted God for all his needs.
He knows the true God, the God of Israel. You cannot follow a lie and expect the truth in the end.
It doesn’t matter what namea man is called, God can use it and walk with that man when he is upright in his ways. Psalms 84:11.
If Jabez was not upright, he wouldn’t have been free to approach God and God will not have been free to grant his request.
Don’t just shout on God (in the guise of praying) and expect the same result Jabez had without living the life Jabez lived.
Right praying includes righteousness. Do what is right and your request will be granted. This is because your request will be right in the first place.
No one asks and expects favor of persons they don’t trust. Jabez prayed to God because he trusted in the God of Israel.
Right praying also includes trusting God.
Without trust you will not pray and if you do pray, it will be full of doubt and no one can receive a thing from God who is full of doubt. James 1:6-7
Right praying includes fear of God. Nehemiah 1:11 fear of God is honoring God. You cannot dishonor God as a habit and expect that same God to answer your requests. Those requests will essentially be dishonoring to God. The motive will most likely be dishonorable anyway.
Righteousness may not mean without sin. But a man who confesses his sin and repents is taken as righteous and God will hear his prayers. James 5:16
Right praying does not include vain repetitions.
It is not vain repetitions that get prayers answered. Matthew 6:7
It doesn’t matter the height of blessings your own labor has taken you, God has more in store for you. Whether you feel blessed or otherwise there’s a blessing “indeed”.
“O that you bless me indeed”
Jabez already have a territory, making sense of the prayer “and enlarge my territory”
He has done some good for himself but this was not the blessing indeed. He needed more and so do we. He also did ask for more and so should you.
“That your hand be with me”
There are some things we can do for ourselves and that by ourselves. This fact may cloud our reasoning and make us feel like gods in our own right thereby denying the existence of God.
Having this foolish conclusion will lead to the hand of God being on a man for evil.
But when man humbles themselves under the mighty hand of God, they shall be lifted. This lifting cannot be done by man because it is primarily a lifting out of sin into righteousness, out of darkness into light and out of emptiness into abundant life.
“And I will cause no pain.”
It is a selfless man that will ask for more after he has been made, when his request is not for himself but for his neighbours.
Jabez already has done well for himself; he is already blessed by man’s estimation. He already own a territory, but he prayed for a larger territory, a life kept from evil. He has labored to be holy and pure, but he knows he can be tempted into doing evil. He also knew except the Lord keeps him, evil can as well befall him and if he falls into doing evil or evil befalls him he will cause pain.
Right praying includes intercession. It includes praying for oneself because of others.
Right praying, in summary includes righteousness, trusting God, fear of God, humility and intercession but does not include vain repetition.
Right praying will eventually lead to the testimony “God granted him his request”.
- These thoughts were facilitated by the sermon of Reverend Mike Abioye of Jubilee Baptist Church, Osogbo. The sermon is titled “Right Praying”.