Praying Like Jabez Part 1 – LOVE

A while back someone brought up in conversation the Prayer of Jabez. I had read it in the past but never realized how it might someday apply to my own life. Since the time of that conversation, God has been running it through my head, often. He has put several sermons before me, put me in conversations about it and keeps putting the verses in my heart. He has led me to those two verses in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 that mention him; yes, that is all, two short yet powerful verses, the more powerful of the two being verse 10, which reads:

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.” (1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV)

This prayer is an example of what it means to go boldly before the throne of God. Jabez expected to be blessed. He expected a wider territory and that God would be with him and protect him; last, but certainly not least, he didn’t want harm to anyone along the way. That last one seems significant because it shows a kind and honorable spirit and that this was not an egotistical prayer.

There is one other instance I have found where we receive some instruction on how to approach the throne of God: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Well, to be quite frank…I need and require much grace and mercy.  A drip line hooked up to my arm from the Lord works wonders! (It’s called ceaseless prayer!) This last year was, I now realize, one big prayer of Jabez after another. The years to come I’m sure will be more of the same…however, what the Lord revealed, as I felt him wanting to communicate regarding this prayer, surprised me greatly!

Love.

I’m not even sure where He was taking this to be honest…I presume He was hoping to coerce me into sharing my heart. Sharing His heart is a piece of cake…sharing mine is somewhat akin to slicing up a well done steak: tough! Yet, not impossible.

You see, the only person who is truly and constantly privy to my heart, is my Lord, Jesus. 

This saddens me but at the same time, it’s amazing seeing I had denied Him access for so long. The sadness is because God had worked diligently to finally make me more open to sharing my heart, and I was finally completely vulnerable. Unfortunately, after coming through such a crazy year, I realize that as hard as I fought to prevent it, a bit of a wall had gone up around my heart again.

This is not how either God nor I desire it to be. When we guard our hearts too tightly, other people get hurt. I am not great at expressing my deepest feelings to begin with, so having to take down stones before I open my mouth proves difficult. Sometimes it feels as though I’m screaming through the wall but not being heard or understood, and rightfully so…the sounds of the love I’m trying to portray are being blocked.

Blocked by what you may wonder? Fear. Yes, fear…I’m calling you out right now. Guess what? I’m not living with you! 2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  Hmm, there it is again…LOVE.  We are given a loving spirit through Christ, and sequentially when we are given a gift from God it is not meant to be kept, rather shared.

During this span of time, through a difficult relationship, family issues, the death of both my grandparents just weeks apart, job loss, possessions I was led to sell, weight I didn’t want to lose, being in steadfast prayer over my sister who was mourning the loss of her fiancee…by the end of the summer of 2014, I was dead.  This, I have come to understand, was His goal in walking me through such fiery trials, as I had last year.

God was refining me in preparation for greater things. For a greater outpouring of (gulp) LOVE.

What He did, completely threw me! The biggest way he has worked things out, the most surprising way, has been through expressions of His love. He has poured out blessing after blessing, has wiped away tears, wrapped me in His unmistakable embrace; but it has been through the kindness of a person I wasn’t expecting, whose entrance into my life God orchestrated out of seemingly nowhere, that I received greater understanding.

I won’t lie, this person’s presence has been detrimental in my healing! The instant bond of friendship and fellowship we had was strong. After some time the friendship just organically grew into more. Due to this, I have had to face some fears: I chose, with God’s lead, to love and trust. Neither came easily because I wasn’t trusting my judgment for a while. I especially wasn’t trusting anyone with my heart. There were days where I didn’t feel able to let my heart go again, instead wanting to guard it from any unexpected pain. Those are the moments where I simply decided to step out of His way…

What I do know for certain is this: Through each trial I was being trained up by God, and am now better prepared and able to love – God’s way. The godly manner in which this relationship transpired – the sharing of our Lord Jesus that brings us both joy and growth, knowing we’re being covered in prayer throughout each day, reading devotionals and the Word together – is truly up-lifting. The constant outpouring of love and kindness I receive and hope I give is so beautiful – I know it is pleasing to the Lord. The foundation of our relationship is Him, His truth, even when it’s hard…our main goal being to point one another toward our Father in Heaven.

I struggled to understand why God chose to do this now, only to realize it’s not for me to question. I have wondered why he chose us for one another. As the days pass the answer is pressed deeper into my heart: God knows this man’s heart, knew he would cherish me the way I deserve to be and in turn I would cherish him simply for how well he chooses (and tries) to love me. The way he allows God’s love for me to pour through him, is sweet and refreshing!

Apparently, this is the man whom God has chosen to love and cover me on earth. He stated early on this is how his heart was being led and I am trusting his lead. Even in this early stage he does this very well. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a relationship with a man who not only foresees and understands what I need, but takes action. Who refuses to give up, even after a really hard day. It glares at me so it’s hard not to recognize.

It has forever been my Jabez-like prayer to God (even when I wasn’t walking near Him) that if he were to truly pair me in this lifetime, that he put me with a man who would wrap his armor around us and fight…yet, underneath that armor possesses a heart of gold; a heart for our Lord. I pray for the Lord to lead and transform me into what he needs: to be his help meet, for life, for ministry, for both…I joyfully accept this unexpected yet prayed for blessing!

“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:18, 21-24 KJV)

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