The Prayer of Jabez

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, *“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. (NIV)

What do you think of this prayer? Would you recommend including this as part of a daily regimen?

A commentary I found online…

The most remarkable person in this chapter is Jabez. We are not told upon what account Jabez was more honourable than his brethren; but we find that he was a praying man. The way to be truly great, is to seek to do God’s will, and to pray earnestly. Here is the prayer he made. Jabez prayed to the living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer; and, in prayer he regarded him as a God in covenant with his people. He does not express his promise, but leaves it to be understood; he was afraid to promise in his own strength, and resolved to devote himself entirely to God. Lord, if thou wilt bless me and keep me, do what thou wilt with me; I will be at thy command and disposal for ever. As the text reads it, this was the language of a most ardent and affectionate desire, Oh that thou wouldest bless me!

Four things Jabez prayed for.

  1. That God would bless him indeed. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings: God’s blessings are real things, and produce real effects.
  2. That He would enlarge his coast. That God would enlarge our hearts, and so enlarge our portion in himself, and in the heavenly Canaan, ought to be our desire and prayer.
  3. That God’s hand might be with him. God’s hand with us, to lead us, protect us, strengthen us, and to work all our works in us and for us, is a hand all-sufficient for us.
  4. That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow. God granted that which he requested. God is ever ready to hear prayer: his ear is not now heavy.

This sounds like a good morning / waking up prayer to me. Simple yet powerful. I actually found a whole prayer book about this in my house except the last verse reads “and that your hand would be with me and keep me from evil”

Does this sound too prosperity gospel like? Whats the Catholic take on this because I know alot of Bible belt denominations are big on this. Like Man asking for his own will rather than asking for God’s will? anything wrong with that? What are your thoughts? Any good experiences with this prayer?

ThisRock magazine addressed the popular book The Prayer of Jabez:

thanks… but in my opinion I dont think its wrong to ask for a happy life either. What kind of of Father would want nothing but a life of misery and cross carrying for his children? Sounds more like a slave master rather than a Father if thats the case…

Sure there are times where we carry crosses and this is always going to be a key feature of catholicsm (the embrace of suffering) but there are also times that we are entilted to happiness as well. I think God would NOT want to make our lives simply as his punching bag where it is only suffering, suffering and more suffering.

Correct me if im wrong though

The unimaginably infinitely vast majority of your life is after this life. God wants for you to know him, love him, and serve him in this life, and to be eternally happy with him … in the next. :thumbsup:

I believe this prayer is a gimmick, a fad. I have seen so much of this stuff over the years that catch on because of some book and grow like fire in the charismatic community. I mean, who doesn’t want to thing of God as an ATM. We do not want God the Father. We want God the Grandfather, who loves us and gives us stuff, but doesn’t ever spank us. Things like this come and go like leaves driven by the wind outside the Barque of Peter.

When one want to pray, then pray as Jesus taught. Pray as the Church teaches. Do not pray as Bruce Wilkinson teaches on something pulled out of thin are. All this is based on one verse, one prayer request granted. There is zero, nada, in the Bible as to why God granted this request, but I would bet it was not because Jabez hit upon the magic words to control God.

Thank you for posting this. I’m going to pull my book out and start praying this again.
Thank you!:slight_smile:

I read the little book years ago and prayed it quite often for awhile.
It’s a wonderful prayer. However, remember when / if you commit to praying this - you are (as in all things) submitting yourself to God’s will, not your own. I’ll have to read the little book again, but I believe it states this very clearly. The book is a very short read and I would recommend picking up a copy if you plan on praying it regularly. It’s a great supplement. It also talks about some basic core commitments on your part to God.

For some reason, I thought when he asked to increase his territory- he meant the territory/ numbers of people he could also bring to know God.

I had very positive results.

God Bless

If you haven’t read the book, it basically breaks down the parts of his (Jabez) prayer.
The prayer wasn’t a gimmick when Jabez prayed it and I believe it’s in the Bible for a reason as are all things. There are other prayers we pray (or at least I do ) that are in the Bible.

It’s not a magic prayer which is why I recommended the book as a supplement to better understand it. No prayer is a magic bullet, but a humble heart is… A prayer, prayed without good intentions or without placing God first won’t be effective.

God is not an ATM, but God is our loving Father. We all have many burdens and crosses we bare, but God loves us and wants us to be happy and yes, prosper. Prosperity isn’t measured by wealth.

I don’t mean to criticize at all, but sometimes it saddens me that so many see God as so far off and not involved in each of our lives every day. He is a personal God and He is our Father and friend. We can go to him with absolutely anything! What Father or friend would not want their child to be happy?

We have to ask. It doesn’t mean we always receive what we are asking for, but never does a prayer go unanswered.

I agree with Bix… its not inherently wrong to ask for things. Didnt Jesus say “you do not have because you do not ask, so ask”

Besides, this prayer is in the context of “God’s will” anyway… You are asking for blessings according to his will.

When you are praying this, you are not asking for anything specific like a million dollars or a blank cheque.

All you are asking God is to bless you… and how God chooses to bless the person and fulfill the request asking is totally up to him.

To accuse this book as a gimmick is a pretty harsh sentence, no??

To me, it definitely makes a great morning prayer :slight_smile:

Peace and love.

Thank you Bix.

The prayer of Jabez is indeed beautiful. But I’m a little concerned that it gives a message through Evangelical Fundamental Christianity to prosper financially.

Trust me, there is nothing wrong wanting to prosper in Christ. But I think we shouldn’t pray and preach financial prosperity because studies have proved that after years of trying to prosper financially without success has really disappointed a lot of believers. I’m afraid much more faithful of all denominations will be let down after getting no positive results.


While I think there is nothing sinful in some desire to want to prosper, I do not think there is any good in it and it still harms us. I was listening to EWTN, as series called* Catholicism*, and the message was on the Beatitudes. Being poor in spirit is one of the keys to happiness. Part of our becoming a saint needs to involve detachment from wealth. While there is no sin in being rich, I think once we start wanting that, even if we do so free of envy and greed, we are less than we can be in God. Our level of wealth needs to be no more to us than the scenery we pass on the road, or the weather we cope with each day, enjoying the good, preparing for the bad.

Let us not forget the authority of the Catholic Church over teaching. People like Bruce Wilkinson have none and have to stoop by blowing out of proportion a single verse in the Bible into its own Gospel, but it is another Gospel, not the Gospel of the Cross.

Ask for happiness - but it might not come in the form of a nice car or better job.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord; “Lord” means master. Where there is a master, there is a slave. If we choose to accept Jesus as our Lord, we choose to live in servitude.

I’ve found that true happiness comes when we choose live in the service of others.

A comment I heard during bible study at church recently: “God grants the request made by Jabez, and you never hear about him again.”

Attachment to things will take you way from the Lord. Lent helps us to cast off those burdens so that we can focus on what really matters.

When I look at those around me, it seems that many have pursued the happiness of the material, but are left wanting. However, it seems to me that the few who pursue the happiness of a more perfect union with Jesus are filled beyond description.

It’s not about wealth. It’s simply about prayer and placing yourself in God’s hands. Abandoning yourself to God’s will. Expanding your territory- God’s territory. I don’t believe it’s fair to automatically judge a prayer or book as being bad simply because an evangelical wrote it or expanded on it… We are called to see and hear God in all people and in all things. He can certainly speak to us in many ways. All Protestants aren’t bad; all Catholics aren’t saints.

I read the book and prayed the prayer. I asked God to increase my (His) territory. I was asked to teach a little class at church. They were floundering. They had no volunteers and only 4-5 children on roll. The class grew to over twenty or thirty the first year and over forty by the second year. The children were so sweet and such a blessing to me.

God increased my - His- territory.

I also had been out of work due to health and received a job offer as the director of a small business. I turned it down because the hours would have conflicted with my little class too often. A week or so later - God blessed me with another job.

Was it due to a magic prayer formula- no. However reading the book and praying the prayer did strengthen my prayer life and I did prosper. :slight_smile:

Your perspective on this is different than mine, and different from the actual scripture where territory was about wealth. Besides, with such a wealth of solid spirituality in the Communion of Saints, why would any Catholic want to follow the path of a man who disappeared from the scene once he got what he wanted, or a charismatic preacher who came up with a novel idea? This is Lent, for goodness sakes. It is a time to die to our wants and desires and seek the good only of others.

All Protestants aren’t bad; all Catholics aren’t saints.

No, they aren’t bad, but all Protestants do lack any authority to teach Catholics and all Catholics should have the goal of sanctity.


If a person prays out of real need, then good.
If a person prays out of abundance, then not so good.

Is the prayer a selfish one or a charitible one?

The Our Father prayer only talks of one material thing, “daily bread”.

Just a few thoughts.

:slight_smile: Thank you for responding so diplomatically.

I agree, but believe we can ask God for more than our daily bread without being greedy.

Jabeez left it up to God how he was blessed. (In his time, the name Jabez, literally meant pain. ) I don’t believe in having prosperity and wealth only sermons. I also don’t believe we are all meant to suffer endlessly and preach that nonstop. Clearly, I’m the only one with this opinion, but that’s okay. :slight_smile: Everyone will not be healed, many people suffer and unfortunately -some much more than others. However, how we handle those sufferings and continue spreading hope and love is key.

Who in the world strives for misery? Not many miserable people. Trust me, I understand suffering and misery in many forms and trials and the blessings from those as well. The Lord went about healing and bringing people hope. Somewhere between the two there must be an even keel. All people are doing is creating more division between the people who should be on the same side. If we are strong in our own beliefs and faiths, why not read or listen to someone who speaks of Jesus and lifts our spirits? There is no sin or wrong in this as long as we are firm in all of our beliefs.

The book- " He left it entirely up to God to decide what the blessings would be and where and how Jabez would receive." God could have given him another name- that would have been blessing too. It could have been a friend, a meal , a spouse, a tree or anything. Everyone sees Protesetant and seems to believe blessing or prosperity =asking or praying for wealth. Yes, some do. Not all and less than you think. I keep typing you and certainly don’t mean you, personally, sorry.

Book," when we seek God’s blessing as the ultimate value in life, we are throwing ourselves entirely into the river of His will and power and purposes for us. All our other needs become secondary to what we really want- which is to become wholly immersed in what God is trying to do in us, through us, and around us for His glory. "

In all sincerity, I ask - is this wrong?

Again, thank you for responding in a kind manner. :slight_smile:

God Bless~


Bix raises a good point… blessings dont necessarily translate to wealth… You could be blessed with a happy family but still be low income, you could be blessed with the company of good friends but not be so rich, You could be blessed in so many different ways. You can even ask God to bless you with the gifts of the Holy Spirit which is a very good thing indeed.

The word * Bless *is can mean a broad range of things and not just stricly on material terms., what people seem to automatically assume is that the word blessing is a code word for wealth which is not necessarily always the case.

Again… all you are asking God is to bless you, in his own way, through his own will. Its a very open ended yet humble requiest and God, being as loving and merciful as he is, is more than happy to respond

@ Bix, - Good to hear that I have inspired you to pray this again… This is such an amazing prayer. Short but sweet. This is the first prayer I say in the morning and say it 3 times to honour the trinity. I have felt a greater sense of inner peace and well being since I started integrating this as part of my daily prayer regimen

Cheers :slight_smile:

The sower sowed seed and some produced 100 fold, some 60 fold and some less.
Jesus is saying that life is about producing good. Wealth is a tool to produce or to corrupt. The intention is the key. Jabez may have had something good in mind when he asked for the land. God granted his request so it would seem that he did.

Kind David asked God for the wisdom to rule well over his people. It pleased God so much that he didn’t ask something for himself, that he gifted him as well with wealth. Priorities are important because if we put God first, then he will bless us in a way that will be for our best interests.

Job also had his blessings tho it took great trust in God in his sufferings before he was richly rewarded for his faith.

Just a thought.

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