Last week in this space, we looked at How to Lead a Life of Significance. As we discover in part two of this message, prayer is a vital part of leading a significant life. From pastorrick.com, Rick Warren provides a great example of answered prayer from God’s Word.
God wants you to live your life to the fullest. He doesn’t want you to live an average life—without any dreams and goals. As we read last week, God wants you to have great ambition and a growing faith.
He also wants you to have a genuine prayer life.
Jabez had a genuine prayer life. And it was the real secret to accomplishing his dreams. He prayed, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain” (1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV). And then the verse continues, “God granted his request.”
Did you know that you can’t out-ask or out-dream God? The Bible says, “[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). Go ahead and stretch your imagination to the greatest thing that could possibly happen—and then realize that God can go beyond that.
Jabez knew this about God, so he prayed three things:
Jabez prayed for God’s power in his life. He prayed, “Oh, that you would bless me.” You might say, “I shouldn’t ask God to bless me. That’s selfish.” But according to God, asking for blessing is absolutely fine. He’s not some big policeman up in the sky waiting for you to make one wrong move so he can pounce on you. He wants to bless your life.
Jabez prayed for God’s presence in his life. He prayed, “Let Your hand be with me.” He asked for God’s presence. Jabez knew that if he got more land and a larger territory, he would have greater demands and more responsibilities. He knew he’d need God’s help with it all.
Jabez prayed for God’s protection over his life. He prayed, “Keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” Why does Jabez ask for God’s protection? Because he knew this: The more successful you are, the more critics you have. The same thing is true in the Christian life: The closer you grow to the Lord, the stronger you become as a Christian and the more the Devil will hassle you.
What do you want God to do in your life? Help you with a problem? Ask him. Help you with some goals? Ask him. First, get the motive behind your goals and dreams in alignment with God. Next, pray the three things Jabez prayed—for God’s power, for God’s presence, and for God’s protection. And then watch how God answers your prayers!
Talk It Over
Do you sometimes feel like you shouldn’t ask God to bless you? Why do you feel that way?
How often do you stop and pray for God’s presence in your life? Why is his presence so important?
In what ways have you noticed that the closer you get to God the more Satan tries to hassle you?