Lord, Bless Me Indeed!
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Isaiah 54:1-6; 1 Chronicles 4:1-12
Sunday 1st June 2014
We begin a new series today, that I have titled ‘Prayer that Changes Circumstances’. As we begin our month of fasting and prayer today, this series will remind us of the power of prayer and the reality that every uncomfortable situation can be turned around for good. Our foundation scripture in Isaiah 54 highlights the blessings that God has already concluded in His word, and what our preparation should be in readiness for the blessing: ‘Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities’ (Isaiah 54:2-3 NLT).
Our second foundation scripture in 1 Chronicles 4 begin with the names of the genealogy of Judah. Names, difficult to pronounce and sadly with no significant achievements chronicled with these names. I pray that your life will be significant. May you live life to the full, enjoy every moment that God gives you and fulfill your destiny in Jesus name. Right in the midst of these names, one of them stands out – Jabez. Prior to the announcement of Jabez’s name in verse 9, the writer of the book of Chronicles had simply acknowledged Jabez’s ancestors and their offspring. With Jabez, the writer changes style and give us an insight into his life. His mother had named him Jabez, because his birth had been so painful.
However, soon enough Jabez decided to break out from the stigma that his name connoted. He instigated a paradigm shift, and rose above his circumstances, by crying out to God; He prayed. Jabez altered the boundaries; he broke barriers and stepped into a life of significance. His example underscores the fact that we too can change our circumstances around, if we call out to God and pray. His life demonstrated that prayer changes things – our lives do not have to end the way it began.
The history of his life is proof that no circumstance is designed to last forever, provided we are ready to do something about it. His was a one sentence prayer that turned his life around, showcasing the awesome power of prayer that we have at our disposal.
Can you imagine what Jabez must have gone through before he prayed? Due to no fault of his, he was labelled by this name. His future was capped and seemed bleak; no one would have wanted to associate with him as such. And for as long as he tolerated the situation, the situation persisted. He was limited, hindered, constrained and contained.
Thankfully, one day he decided to break out of this limitation and step out of this stigma – He prayed. And this is what our time of prayer and fasting this month is all about. We must all arrive at a point in the journey of our lives, where unreservedly we believe that our lives are more than our present circumstances.
This is the season in which as God’s people we must arise in and declare that ‘It’s time to enlarge!’. We cannot afford to remain where we are because a lot is at stake. This is how Genesis 27:40 puts it, in reference to Isaac’s words to Esau: ‘You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck’.
Hannah experienced this same ‘breaking free’ point in her life. She had lived childless for a while, and was constantly taunted by Peninnah, her rival. Thankfully, one day after a sacrificial meal in Shiloh, Hannah got up and decided to pray about the condition she was experiencing. Her prayers resulted in the birth of Samuel, a boy who grew up to become an influential prophet in the bible. Is it possible that we have not seen a change in our lives because we are too comfortable with our situations? God wants to give us more than we can possibly envisage, if only we would ask. God has ordained your change, but you must activate it!
Jabez’s prayer, ‘Oh that you would bless me, indeed!’ demonstrated earnestness. The word, ‘indeed’ in that sentence could easily have been replaced with five exclamation points or writing the request in capital letters and underlining it.
He was inundated with impossibilities – he was distressed; and faced a future without hope. By raising his voice to heaven and crying ‘Father, Father, bless me! Bless me a lot!’, he was stating clearly to God that he was ready for an humongous blessing. He was asking for that wonderful, unlimited, exceedingly and abundantly resources that only God has the power to give to us.
There is a school of thought among some believers that says, asking God for abundance is immature and materialistic. This thought pattern needs to be addressed and transformed. God has more than enough to meet all our needs. It is clearly stated that ‘For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills’ (Psalm 50:10 NLT). God never runs out. Jabez knew this, and this prompted his boldness, faith and readiness for change.
Notice the unique thing about the prayer of Jabez: he simply asked for God to bless him indeed. He left it entirely to God to decide what the blessings would be, where, when and how he would receive them. He focused solely on nothing more or nothing less than what God had in store for him. He was not self-centered; however he wanted all that God had in stock for him - this is what true enlargement is all about. His was a sincere prayer. He was prayed exactly what God desired: this is the secret to God’s miracle!
You may look at yourself and may not feel like a candidate for blessing due to your past history. Probably, you are one of those Christians who think it is immature to ask God for blessings, please change your thinking. Here is a question to ask - How much is too much health, peace, strength, joy or even oxygen? So why should we consider blessings otherwise? This is what ‘Deeper and Higher’ this year is all about; enlarge your territory and take the limits off yourself.
Let me share with you four truths from the life of Jabez:
• Jabez knew God: He knew that God was the more than enough God, and had the right perspective of Him. Here is Psalm 50:12 ‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness’
• Jabez knew that God’s plans were more than his painful experience: Jeremiah 29:11 reads ‘For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’.
• Jabez knew that God was passionate about blessing him: God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:2 reads: I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. God wants to bless each one of us just like parents would testify that they are willing and ready to bless their children before they are ready to ask.
• Jabez knew he had to take responsibility: Nothing just happens. He knew he had to pray and boldly he did.
This month, decide and prepare to change some boundaries. Ask God for more, because He is willing to give. Make it a life-long commitment to ask God every day to bless you, and while he is at it ask Him to bless you a lot. God’s supply and abundance is limited by us – not by His resources, power or willingness to give. Jabez was blessed simply because he refused to let any obstacle, opinion, mind-set or person appear larger than God’s nature.
The story of Jabez is proof that through a simple, believing prayer, you can change your circumstances. Would you like Jabez, pray that prayer? ‘Lord, bless me indeed’!
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