Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Prayer of Jabez???

Perhaps you've heard of the prayer of Jabez phenomenon that went on a few years ago. It seemed to take the "christian" world by storm! I think it started as a good thing, a prayer to increase your influence for Jesus, but I fear it began to take the form of the "prosperity gospel" crap that is still so prevalent today.
If we are going to pray about our situation(s) and so on, allow me to offer another perspective than that of what the "Prayer of Jabez" ended up as.
Consider David. Yeah, David. The King who danced around in his underwear in front of the entire congregation of Israel while his wife told him he was an idiot. The same guy who got mixed up with adultery and then murdered the woman's husband for fear of being caught (as luck would have it he got a son out of the deal anyway!). The same guy whom his predecessor, King Saul (the 1st King of Israel given by God... much to God's dismay...), chased through the wilderness and in and out of caves because Saul was apparently a little punch-drunk on his own self-righteousness and thought David was conspiring against him. And YES... the same David who, through all of this, God stills says that he is a man after God's own heart.
Though he failed throughout his life (repeatedly & admittedly), David still saw God as his greatest treasure and hope, and ultimately his strength, guide, and deliverer. Even though life was brutal for David at times, sometimes his doing & sometimes not, he truly, throughout his life, clung to Yaweh. And ultimately, when David prayed, his heart was revealed and we see that he loved God above all else. Sure, there were times in his life that he loved himself more, but ultimately he loved Yaweh God.
So, in light of his many prayers, and of his many persecutions, allow me to offer up the thought that we need not pray for a new BMW, a new house, a million bucks, faster internet, an amazing retirement, or even for life to magically just get better. Rather, we should pray for God to direct our paths so that we may be able to walk with him and bring glory to his Name and Kingdom. David illustrates how to pray, with the right spirit/heart, for deliverance from rough situations:

"To you O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For YOUR NAME'S SAKE, O LORD (Yaweh), pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you..."

Psalm 25:1-21

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