Don't Just Say the Words"
According to Bruce Wilkinson, author of Beyond Jabez, a common misconception is that if you simple say the words you will be blessed. He warns us against construing "the specific words of the prayer as some kind of incantation or formula to which God is obligated to respond" . He encourages us to look at Jabez's heart attitude as a model to follow. In other words, don't just recite the prayer word for word. He suggests that we still follow the four basics themes of the original prayer, but put them into our own words.
This makes a lot of sense if you stop and think about it. The four basic themes are to ask God to bless you a great deal, expand your territory or sphere of influence, to provide His hand of power in your life, and to keep evil and temptation away from you. If you put this prayer in your own words, you will be speaking on a much more personal level with God. Remember, the prayer of Jabez was written in Jabez's own words...try saying them in your words!
When I pray the Prayer of Jabez, I'll usually say something like: "Dear God, please bless me abundantly in Your time and in Your way. Please expand my territory so I will be able to spread and share in the news of Your word. Use me as a vessel and speak through me so that I may reach others. Keep me from evil and from hurting others through my words or actions. I ask this in Jesus's name, Amen."
Wilkinson believes that God will answer this prayer "whatever the words". He believes it works because each part of the prayer corresponds with the teachings of the Bible, including those of Jesus Himself. He said it works because you are asking God to help you do all the things Christ commanded you to do. According to Wilkinson, "You never have to wonder if the prayer is right to pray - it is the will of God as revealed by Jesus Christ! As you will soon see, it may be an Old Testament prayer, but it reflects New Testament truths."
So think about what you are praying while you pray. Sit back and let your voice sing the song in your heart!
Written by Nancy Tuliszewski
March 29, 2005
Sources in Beyond Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson, pp. 37-38