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A Prayer Born Out of Sorrow


I have been going through prayers in the Bible recently and today I was scheduled to read the Prayer of Jabez. I am quite familiar with this prayer and must say I have prayed it many times for myself, my husband and my family.


Today I saw it in a different light. Perhaps because it is Mother’s Day I caught some things (bolded below) I have never noticed before. Perhaps because I have had my Mom on my heart a little more this weekend I could relate to this prayer a little more.


“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, 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.” I Chronicles 4:9-10

Here is the meaning (according to the strong’s concordance) of the word honourable from the above passage:

3513 kabad kaw-bad' or kabed {kaw-bade'}; a primitive root; to be heavy, i.e. in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable; causatively, to make weighty (in the same two senses)

To make weighty in a bad sense or in a good sense. It means to be weighted down with much sorrow or to be weighted down with much riches. Furthermore it says that Jabez’s mother bore him in sorrow and gave him a name that means grief and sorrow.


My mom’s young life was filled with much sorrow. She was reared by two alcoholics. She was the oldest girl. Much of the time the care for herself and her 6 brothers and sisters fell on her. When my Mom was 16 she married an alcoholic to get out of the house. Strange, how that did not work! As a newlywed at 16, she had the care of a household that included my father, his brother, my developmentally-disabled Aunt and my grandfather who had early onset dementia. These are heavy times for a young girl of 16.


Within 5 years Dad and Mom had three girls. I was in the middle. Four years later the youngest was born. God gave them a son.


When my brother was just over a month old, my Dad was shot 4 times and left for dead on a lonely dirt road. My Mom was just 27 years old and didn't even have her driver’s license. Somehow my Dad survived this attempted homicide on his life. My Mom got saved in the hospital waiting room upon hearing he was going to be okay and about a year later my Dad got saved as well! Our lives were changed forever.


Those were certainly heavy, sorrowful years for my Mom. I cannot begin to imagine or relay to you everything she went through. It was during this time of sorrow me and my siblings were born.


Did Jabez consider the sorrow his mother endured? It seems so. Did he desire and pray for something better for himself and his future? It seems very much so. Did he pray to be delivered from the grief his own name bore? Yes, it says he did! And did God hear his prayer? Why yes He did! God is good that way.


What I see in Jabez is someone who did not get bitter because of the heavy sorrow life handed him but someone who wanted something better out of the bitter.


As a result of the homicide attempt, my Dad was left legally blind and was on partial disability. My Mom got her driver's license and a minimum wage job working 6 days a week to help support our family. My dad cleaned the house, did the laundry, made sure the dishes were done, looked after us kids, got odd jobs around town, and cooked supper. They made the best of a very bad situation. My dad went through a bitter time right after he lost his eyesight, but once he accepted Christ as their Savior, I do not remember him or my mom ever being bitter. And we kids were better for it all.


Though we were dirt poor, we got the blessing of seeing two people pray, hope and pray some more for things to be better. We saw the abundant blessing that came out of the heavy sorrow.


All of this today makes me wonder when and how Jabez learned to pray like he did. His mother is mentioned here. Her sorrow is mentioned. And this beautiful prayer came out of it all.



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