Many years ago, my church did a series on a book called The Prayer of Jabez. I don’t remember much about the book, but I remember the verse that it was based on.
[Jabez] was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain.” And God granted him his request. – 1 Chronicles 4:10
When I was first challenged to pray a bold prayer like this, I was both excited and terrified. What an awesome thing it would be for God to use me mightily. But what a huge responsibility – and could I even handle it?
At the time, I didn’t feel like it was the right time for me to pray that prayer. I remember feeling like God was telling me, “Your territory is big enough for now.” After all, I had three young children, and raising them was a big enough territory for me. I also knew that I was still dealing with struggles in my own walk with God. I was just starting to get into the Word of God and allow it to penetrate my soul. (Hebrews 4:12) I was only beginning to be convicted about the areas in my life that were not pleasing to God. I was finally starting to understand the transformation that was taking place by the renewing of my mind. (Romans 12:2) It was not too long after that God showed me a verse in the Bible that I knew he meant for me to take hold of and live out.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” – Joshua 3:5
I did not know when tomorrow would come. I did not know what the Lord had planned for me. But I knew without a doubt that I needed to consecrate myself. I knew that if I wanted to be ready for the Lord to do amazing things whenever my tomorrow came, I needed to be set apart for him. I knew that if I wanted God to expand my territory, I needed to show him I was faithful in the current one. I knew that before I could pray a 1 Chronicles 4:10 prayer, I need to work on Joshua 3:5
Many years later I am in a different place in my relationship with God. I have gone through refining fires and have seen him working through them all. I have (with the help of the Holy Spirit) purged from my life things that I knew were not honoring to God. I have grown closer to the Lord through studying his Word. I am still a work in progress, without a doubt, but I can clearly see the work God has done in my life to bring me to a place where I could start to think about the Prayer of Jabez again.