About the 6th of April, I began praying the Prayer of Jabez each day. I learned about the prayer from a book by the same name. I must say that my life has been enhanced from making the decision to pray this prayer. It’s not the words, of course, it’s the meaning behind the words that makes the difference. The Prayer of Jabez is a commitment to God and to a higher way of living. It’s that commitment that is the subject of this post.
The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life by Bruce H. Wilkinson explores the relationship that this man Jabez had with his God. The prayer naturally divides into four parts and the book provides a commentary for each part. I think, however, that the last part when Jabez prayed that he might not cause pain should stand on its own as perhaps a fifth part. For me it is just as important to include this in the prayer as the four main parts.
You see, the only thing some people have is their reputation. Consider the story of Ruth. She had no possessions, but she did have a good reputation and it was this reputation that allowed Boaz to love her and ultimately redeem her and Naomi. Therefore, it matters a great deal whether a person causes pain to another whether intentional or not. Memories of past pain or the expectation of pain caused by the reputation of an individual will most certainly have a negative effect on both concerned. To leave out the part of the prayer asking God to not allow oneself to cause another pain is to leave out an equally important part of the complete prayer of Jabez.