Bruce Wilkinson wrote a small, powerful book on "Breaking through to the blessed life", The Prayer of Jabez. This book changed my life.
The simple prayer of Jabez is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10. Jabez is mentioned in only a few verses and, for years, was completely missed by me because he is in the midst of the who begot whom. It seemed that Jabez was more honourable than his brothers and he prayed, "Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
Wilkinson broke this prayer into 4 sections:
1. A request to be blessed personally
2. A request to have his territory enlarged for God
3. A request to be kept away from evil
4. A request to not cause pain toward others
I know that my prayer life needs to be about being thankful to God and about others, but Wilkinson's book cleared the path for me to stop feeling guilty for requesting blessings for myself . God wants to bless and He wants us to tell him our desires.I had a hard time with the second request about asking God to enlarge my territory. I was afraid of what God might ask me to do, but I finally took that step. I did not know what to expect and did not even recognize it at first. After I retired I kept having to do this or that for someone else. There were errands to run, financial planning to do for them, and concern on my mind. At first I thought, "What is going on? When will this stop?" Then it hit me! Wow! God had enlarged my territory with something I could manage and do. It was time to stop complaining about the extra hours out of the day and enjoy the moments.
Request three speaks for itself. We all need to attempt to stay free of temptation or anyone or anything that will lead us away from the blessings God has in store for us.
I believe request four comes through love. If we show love toward all men, we will watch our tongue (what we speak), and we will watch our actions (what we do), so that we will not create hurtfulness or harm toward others.
For those who have not read The Prayer of Jabez, please take a few hours out of your day and let it revolutionize your life. It is packed with powerful thoughts that will enrich your life.