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.
1 Chronicles 4:10 (NIV)
Enlarge My Territory
The Sverdrup Islands are named after Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup, who explored and mapped them from 1898 to 1902. Sverdrup claimed the islands for Norway, but the Norwegian government showed no interest in pursuing the claim until 1928. At that point, the Norwegian government raised the claim, primarily to use the islands as bargaining chips in negotiations with the United Kingdom over the status of two other islands: the Arctic Jan Mayen and the Antarctic Bouvet Island. On November 11, 1930, Norway recognized Canadian sovereignty over the Sverdrup Islands and eight days later the UK recognized Norwegian sovereignty over Jan Mayen.
A few years ago, a small book called The Prayer of Jabez took the Christian world by storm. It seems that everyone discovered the prayer and began to use it. It is found in 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.” That’s all we know about Jabez. He gets two verses in the Bible, tucked into a listing of the clans of Judah. The name Jabez is from the Hebrew word for pain and Jabez prayed that the Lord would keep him free from the pain his mother suffered when he was born. We can pray selfishly that the Lord would provide for us more land, more material blessing, more stuff. Or we can pray for God’s protection and safety which seems to be the gist of Jabez’ prayer here. We do know that Jabez was an honourable man and God granted his request, knowing Jabez would honour the Lord through it.
These have been words from the heart.