Oh That You Would Bless Me: The Prayer of Jabez

Stephen Sanders

Crosswalk Contributor
Updated Dec 01, 2022
Oh That You Would Bless Me: The Prayer of Jabez
Once upon a time, right in the middle of a genealogy in 1 Chronicles, the author took a break to tell us about a man whose name meant "Pain." This man cried out to God to be changed, to be made new. That prayer was answered, and that same God will do the same for you today.

1 Chronicles 4:10

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.

The following section is excerpted from What Is the Prayer of Jabez? by Meg Bucher on Crosswalk.com:

How We Can Pray Like Jabez

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20).

Jabez prayed for four things:

1. That God would bless him

2. That God would enlarge his territory

3. That God’s hand might be with him

4. That God would keep him from evil

For a proper interpretation of his prayer, it should be read through a spiritually sound lens, not one of materialism.

God’s blessings are the real things that produce real effects. We can but wish a blessing: He commands it.

The enlargement of territory Jabez prayed for was deeply connected to the landscape of his heart. He left many disciples behind, not possessions. The territory of his heart expanded and overflowed to those around him.

“That God would enlarge our hearts,” wrote Matthew Henry, “is to be our desire and prayer.”

Jabez prayed for God to be with him. He also prayed God would protect him from being a Jabez! There is an allusion to his name in the original text! “That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, and all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt him, nor grieve him, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow.”

Jabez’s Old Testament prayer can be aligned with the way Jesus taught us to pray (Matthew 6:5-15). “They think that they will be heard for their many words,” Jesus said in Matthew 6:7-8. "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

We can not only pray like Jabez but also expound upon his prayer. The Spirit of God lives in us and translates our prayers and mutterings to God in heaven!

Christ taught us how to pray: "Pray then like this: our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13).

James reminds us, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). A disciplined life of biblical prayer keeps us in constant touch with God and reliant on Him more than our own grasp to solve and achieve. 

In Max Lucado’s book Facing Your Giants, he writes, “Two types of thoughts continually vie for your attention. One proclaims God’s strengths; the other lists your failures.” 

5 Tips to Pray like Jabez

“God is the God of the whole earth and all the nations and all of history and all of life and culture and all the universe from one end of the galaxies to the other. Each of us was created to have a significant place in that great scheme. What is it? What do you pray for day in and day out about how you fit into that?” (John Piper)

- Praise God for who He is. Remember specific answers to prayer, list virtues of His character, and ask to for Him to reveal more.

- Ask God to give us a heart like Jesus and increase the use of our lives to spread the gospel.

- Acknowledge God’s power and reign. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be manifested in our daily lives.

- Pray for God to guard our hearts and for His protection from every evil, both seen and unseen.

- Pray everything in Jesus’ name. Express the desire to align every intention with God’s will.

A Sample Prayer Like Jabez’s


You are God of the universe and my Creator. All creation, and all I am, exist to honor You. Thank You for delivering me from evil, and restoratively setting my feet on the firm foundation of Your truth. Mold in me a heart like Jesus’—compassionate and forgiving. With the gifts, talents, and tasks you have set upon my shoulders, may my diligent work spread the truth of Christ to many who live without hope. Use my life to serve Your purposes. By the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, may I properly reflect the love of my Lord, Jesus. Protect me from evil and deliver me from temptation, forgive me for my continual sin and heal me completely. Bless my life with Your provision and protection.

In Jesus’ Name,


Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Kamonwan Wankaew

Originally published Wednesday, 02 March 2022.