For many years now, I have started each day by praying, or as I like to call it, my morning chat with God. As a part of that chat, I always pray the prayer of Jabez. I have found that it is a simple prayer to remember and has been tremendously effective for me. My days are better, my focus is better and I am truly blessed each day by God. My ritual is to write down this portion of my chat and then, periodically, I come back and read through what I have written and highlight those blessings that have been granted. My journal is full of yellow highlights from over the years.
I marvel at how I, so undeserving of these blessings, continue to see these good things happening in my life. I mean, for heaven's sake, if you were to ask me I would tell you that I am the least eligible for these offerings. I do my best every day to do the right things, say the right things, be the right kind of person and at the end of the day I see all the things I could have done differently or where I just didn't quite meet the mark. If it were up to me, I'm not sure that I would think me worthy of blessings of any kind. (I guess it's a good thing it's not up to me, huh)?
You know the word blessing is so misunderstood in today's culture. We use it when someone sneezes, we hear the minister in church talk about blessing, we ask God to bless our kids, the president, or the food we eat. It's really very little wonder that the word is so misunderstood.
Bruce Wilkinson, in his book The Prayer of Jabez, says:
"To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. When we ask for God's blessing, we're not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We're crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give to us. This kind of richness is what the writer was referring to in Proverbs: "The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it." (Proverbs 10:22, TLB)
You know, I find that when I pray for those things in my life that I believe are important, there aren't as many highlights. When I pray that God will guide and direct my words and my actions, that He will lead me to whomever I can help today, there are a lot of highlights. I'm human, and there are those portions of my prayer that pertain to loved ones, to special events in my life, or to just relieve me of some grievance I may have, but I try to make the majority of my prayer, my chat, about what it is He wants for me today or for those in my life.
I can not begin to tell you the difference this has made for me. I found Dr. Wilkinson's little book many years ago as I was going through a pretty intense divorce. I had heard about The Prayer of Jabez from many people and decided to pick it up and see for myself what the fuss was all about. At that time the stress in my life was horrific, not only from the divorce but from a situation at work as well. It seemed that most everything in my life had taken a nasty turn and I was looking for some way to get back on track. This little prayer, so simple to remember, did just that. Let me tell you, that first few months I repeated this prayer a thousand times a day. When I didn't think I could face another person or another problem, I'd pray this simple prayer and I'd get through it. The focus was taken off of me and put on God's plan for me.
I am a firm believer that there is a plan for each of our lives. (And, believe it or not, we don't create the plan). There is a higher power, use whatever name you so choose-but I call him God, that has far more in store for us than anything we could even imagine. You see, that's the problem, we can't imagine for ourselves all the good things possible. If we try to determine the path or paths we'll take, we will end up at dead ends most every time. We can't see the big picture. We can't see far enough down the road to make the best choices for ourselves.
When we become closer to God, or as some refer to it, match up to our source, we see blessings that we never imagined. I am fifty-three years old. As I look back at my life, it certainly has not happened the way that I thought it would when I was eighteen or nineteen years old (thank God!). I would never have guessed that many of the events of my life would have taken place, especially in the way that they did. Some have been good, some have been very good, some have not been so good but all worked out for the best for me in the big picture. I am the person I am today because of all of these things in my life and, as the old commercial said, "You're not getting older, you're getting better." Amen to that! Thanks, Lord, for all of the blessings!
As always, Blessings to You, my Friends!
And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain."
So God granted him what he requested.