You asked about the current rage of books, tapes and seminars regarding "The Prayer of Jabez." Here is my open letter to you in reply.
The Prayer of Jabez or the Warning to Solomon?
This is the passage that this teaching is based on:
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, NKJV).
I am afraid that this kind of emphasis at a time like this is so typical of the Church in America: "Bless me! Give me more! Bless everything I put my mind to. Take over my will and make me a good person." This all fits in with the cross-less Christianity that is preached from most pulpits in America.
God is not interested in blessing those who are still in rebellion against His Holy Spirit. He does not take over our wills, but rather crucifies our souls with trials so we learn to lay down our wills at His feet. If Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, how much more us? He waits for us to give Him permission to kill the antichrist (that which displaces Christ) within, that thing in each of us that exalts itself and opposes Him. This is what prepares us for that moment when He can say, "Behold, the bride has made herself ready." This is how we "labor therefore to enter into that rest."
For years we heard what should have been a sobering warning to heed 2 Chronicles 7:14. Have we, or have we just grown tired of hearing it and gone on to some other trippy religious thing that markets a bit easier? Let us look at it again in a little more depth with the current national tragedy in mind:
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13,14, NKJV).
America has been in a drought for most of the last fifteen years. Our forests are burning up, the corps are failing. Cattle ranchers are having to have hay shipped in from as far away as three hundred miles north of the Canadian border.
As for "pestilence" there are those in our government that are warning us that we have not seen the end of germ warfare. Or have we forgot the plague called AIDS? The government is trying to put a good face on what we are up against, saying that there is no immediate bio/chemical threat. Just a few hundred miles north of Afghanistan there is a huge bio/chemical warfare dump left unguarded by the Russian army. Are our officials whistling in the dark, trying to protect what is left of our shaky consumer confidence based economy? I expect that anthrax will be used by terrorists in an attempt to decimate large populations unless we repent and God intervenes. Anthrax is a spore; it is hardy and easy to spread. Just this week a man in Florida came down with dreaded disease and has no idea how he got it.
Joel two speaks of an army sent to destroy an unrepentant Israel by the command of God. It calls them locust (vs. 2:25)! I see a great similarity to this army of God and what we are facing in this third world war against Islamic terrorism. Let's look at what the prophet saw.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness [see Amos 5:18-24], Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.
Watch for the rise of Islam and the bloody persecution of the saints of God. For more info on this see Voice of the Martyrs at www.persecution.com. Another good source of info on what Islam really teaches is www.answering-islam.org.
A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them.
Look at the landscape of Afghanistan many other Muslim nations. They are totally barren and destroyed by years of warfare. Look at south Manhattan. You shall know them by their fruit.
Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run.
Interesting that bin Laden is often pictured riding horseback and has a fetish for horses. These terrorist come and go by the speed of air travel on our airlines.
With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array. Before them the people writhe in pain; All faces are drained of color.
Look at the faces of the survivors in New York City. It was enough to make me weep. Their stories are heart wrenching.
They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; Every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, They are not cut down.
I believe this describes terrorist cells in action. Each cell works independent of the others and yet they move in unison to achieve their appointed missions. Our weapons and technology do not work to stop them.
They run to and fro in the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter at the windows like a thief.
They infiltrate and go through our borders like they were not there with their false ID's. They abide in our cities, seen, yet are not seen and no one stops them. The defense minister of Canada has admitted that he knows of over a hundred terrorist cells within its boarders. How many are waiting for the right moment to step across the line into the US to do their evil works?
The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness.
At "ground zero" the earth quaked at 2.5 on the Richter scale. The dust of the collapse of the buildings darkened the sun.
The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?
Does God send destruction to a people? Some say, "No," but the Bible says He does. He used foreign armies to deal with backslidden Israel for thousands of years. Will America get the message of last resort that God is sending us so that we might repent? Is not one of the terror organizations called Hesbola, or "The Army of God"?
"Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him--A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?
Repentance and true mourning for our sins, rending our hearts and not just an outward putting on of pious prayers is what the Lord is looking for. He waits for this nation to turn back to its God with our whole hearts. This must come first, before He will again bless us.
Chuck Colson recently wrote:
"But what's missing in the flurry of flag-waving and comfort-giving is something that should be the firstbusiness of the church: Calling ourselves, and then the nation, to repentance. Christians of the past knew that repentance and faith are a package. The Christian life is a life of returning, of going back to the cross daily in repentance and faith.
"For years, many of us have half-jokingly said that if God doesn't bring judgment on America soon, he'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. I approach this subject gingerly because it is easy to be misunderstood. But I think we do have to try to discern God's purpose in the events that have shaken the whole world."
Please forgive me if my approach to this subject has not been as "gingerly" as Chuck's, but the hour is to late for playing social games.
Continuing with Joel chapter two:
Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, And pity His people.
God is still looking for "the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within" our nation (see Ezek. 9:1-11). I am so disappointed in the churches of America. Where is the call to repentance? Where is the call for fasting and gut wrenching prayer? Instead we hear a call for business as usual, a call that appeals to our pride to rise up and rebuild. Yes, we have had prayer gatherings in which we pray for those lost and their loved ones, but this does not begin to deal with the wickedness that masks itself in a religious cloak in our nation. Can we honestly compare what we call "the Churches" in America with THE CHURCH found in the Book of Acts, that Church that was ONE and filled with God's love of which it was said, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too"? If any religion is turning the world upside down in this hour it is Islam! I think that the words of Jesus fit America even more in this hour:
Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:28-30, NKJV).
I watched the "national day of prayer" performance at the national cathedral and not one of these supposed "holy men" mentioned the need for repentance, except Billy Graham. He also preached "God bless America." I found his message weak and lacking for the lateness of the hour we are in. It was interesting that the procession on the way out was lead by the military honor guard. It seems that we still think in terms of "God and country" and not necessarily in that order. I am a patriot at heart, but since Jesus captured me, like Him, my kingdom is not of this world.
The LORD will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.But I will remove far from you the northern army, And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, With his face toward the eastern sea And his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, And his foul odor will rise, Because he has done monstrous things.
Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the LORD has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures are springing up, And the tree bears its fruit; The fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you--The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.
And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days."
We have been hearing a call for revival from our pulpits for many years. But notice that the blessings of God and the Holy Spirit's reviving come afterwards. After the invading army, the plague of locust, the drought, God's strong arm against us because of our sin, and most importantly after we have repented of our evil ways and turn back to Him (Compare Hosea 6:1-4)!
And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:1-32, NKJV).
Fear not, saints of God. We have been promised an "If and a "Then." "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
God is waiting for all who are His people and are called by His Name, Christ ones, to humble themselves. He is looking for true heart-felt humility. He is waiting for us to climb down from our lofty pulpits and our over inflated opinions of our "ministries" and positions in life and weep before Him in repentance from all our pride. He is waiting for prayer from broken and contrite hearts and broken spirits (Ps 51:17) that seek His face with clean hands and pure hearts, hands that have turned away from their wicked ways and hearts that belong to Him. Then and only then will He hear our prayers, forgive our sins and heal our land!
So, my son, there you have it. The way I see it, this is not a time for the self centered "prayer of Jabez," but a time for America to hear and obey God's warning to Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:13 and 14). Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." Some things never change. May the Lord somehow get through to us before it is to late.
Dear Lord, we have sinned. We have fallen short of your glory. Forgive us of all our wicked ways. Turn our hearts back to you with a holy zeal that is born from above for YOUR kingdom and not the kingdoms of religious and lustful men. Help us, oh Lord Jesus. Save us from ourselves. Amen.
I just got this great letter from a dear friend that puts "The Prayer of Jabez" in a Biblical perspective. Larry has been a blessing to me and really has a heart for God's kingdom. His web site is worth the time to explore and read: www.lettersoffaith.com
Bless you all,
Thank you, brother, for you heartfelt and moving call to repentance. Surely, this must be the message of the hour.
I would like to offer a twist on the prayer of Jabez though, that the Lord placed upon Charlie's and my heart, because we find this little prayer to hold repentance and rightness with Elohim to be fundamental to its fulfillment:
"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, NKJV).
First, Jabez "was more honorable" than his brethren. Jabez was repentant. Jabez had already ordered his life aright before God, and had sought His face for a very long time. Jabez was honorable in the sight of God. This fact has been grossly overlooked by the religious organizations, but, praise the Lord, it has not escaped our attention at all.
In light of this fact, Jabez approached God in fervent prayer--seeking for the glory of God! And this is the same approach that Charlie and I take as we approach His throne through His Son.
We seek for His blessing; that we may be a blessing to His children. We seek His light, that we may reflect that light in the darkness of this world. We seek His righteousness, His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love (especially His love) that we may display this fruit unto all that we encounter.
Furthermore, we seek for the expansion of our boundaries--not that we want to own things, but that He would increase the area of our ministry for the praise of His glory. We seek very little for our selves (those of our needs, which are always rendered through His loving provision) but we seek for whatever is needed to progress His Word and minister to His lost children.
The next part, "That you would keep me from evil" is repeated in the New Testament over and over again, but nowhere more significantly than in the Lord's own teaching on how we should pray. As a matter of fact, Michael, if you seriously look at the contents of "The Lord's Prayer," many elements of Jabez' prayer can be found here as well... Jesus said we are to pray thus, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen]" (Matthew 6:9-13 NASB).
And I guess here is the rub of it all... Religion distorts and diminishes the truth and fullness of everything that is spiritually relevant. And the current teachings on the prayer of Jabez are in full agreement with that fact.
Just as the Catholic Church repeats the Lord's Prayer, as if it were meant to be some sort of mantra, along with the 'hail Mary', the false Protestant/Evangelical/Whatever religious organizations are now distorting the prayer of Jabez to accommodate their need for something to grasp a hold of - in their positive thinking mindset - because everything else is tumbling down around them.
Only a truly repentant and contrite heart can pray in line with Jabez - and receive a response from our Messiah.
And the last line of his prayer is, I think, the most precious of all. And, the most forgotten. Oh, "That I may not cause pain"... Can you hear it, Michael? Can you hear the heart of His faithful children crying out to Him in this prayer?
"Father, please, do not let me teach anything in error. Please give me the strength and courage to teach the fullness of You; to prophetically look into the hearts of Your lost children - and to speak directly to their sin - not maliciously, but in Your love - so that they may discover their need for repentance, and so that they may return to You with contrition and the joy of Your Spirit. To the praise, honor and glory of Your Most Holy Name."
Personally, I believe that the warning to Solomon is meant to be known first. Then, when our hearts are right with Him, a prayer like that of Jabez will naturally flow from those hearts, because the sole desire of a heart that is right with God will seek to please, honor, glorify and magnify The One who has called us, redeemed us and disciplined us. Sadly, the religious organizations have forgotten these things, again, and in their forgetfulness, the sheep are led further astray.
Praying that all is and remains well with you and yours, and that our loving Messiah will continue to be glorified and magnified through your heart - and your writing. I remain faithfully and humbly your servant in Yahshua our Messiah,
Larry and Charlieto top