The Blessing of the Unexpected….
by Betsy Burnett
The Prayer of Jabez….
“Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, and that Your hand might be with me and that You would keep me from evil, that it might not cause pain.” And God granted him that which he requested. I Chronicles 4:10
I had heard many stories about the “Prayer of Jabez” but never really wanted to check it out for myself. I grew up in a church that used prayer books…not that there is anything wrong with prayer books (or praying written prayers) but I have a tendency to let my mind and heart wander when I am reading a prayer vs. praying something on my own. Yes there are times when a written prayer expresses my heart and I can use written prayer as a starting point…I still just wasn’t convinced I wanted to read the book.
Then I had a dream. In this dream my former Pastor asked me if I had read the “Prayer of Jabez” yet. In the dream I told him I had not read it yet but I had the book. He went on to tell me that it was really good and would change the way I thought. Naturally I woke up from this very curious and went out and got the book.
So I read it and decided that Jabez prayer good words from his heart. Could they be good words from my heart as well? I started to take his prayer apart and apply it to my life. “Oh that You would bless me indeed,” Who doesn’t want God to bless them…(this one was easy) and “enlarge my territory”….ooh that’s an interesting one, I started thinking about my “territory”…family, ministry, work…yeah I would love some of these areas to enlarge. “that Your hand might be with me”, ok another no brainer, YES I wanted the Lord with me with whatever I did. Finally “You would keep me from evil that it might not cause pain.” Wow that was a profound thought! Keeping myself from sin so I don’t cause pain to myself, and more importantly others.
Wow after reading the prayer I realized there was some GOOD stuff in there. So in my own way I started asking the Lord for the same things Jabez did. The first day I prayed that morning before I went on with my day. What amazed me most after I prayed was how I opened my eyes to see what the Lord was doing around me.
First I dropped off my children at VBS, after picking them up I was asked if I wanted to participate (lead) in another program. I was excited because it was a great opportunity for not only my children but a chance to share the Lord as well. Later on that day I was surprised with a knock on my door. A friend of my sister-in-law was there asking me if we wanted some ice cream. She had brought over ice cream bars for them and they were not home. Did we want them? My kids want ice cream? Oh yeah…I invited her in to share with us. It resulted in an afternoon of fellowship!
I realized at the end of the day the Lord had answered my prayer. In ways I never would have imagined. I received the unexpected blessing of a new ministry opportunity as well as a fabulous fellowship opportunity complete with ice cream! It was nothing like I would have expected. It was nothing that I was prepared for. But it was obvious the Lord had a hand in the day!
Did the prayer of “Jabez” cause my fun day…no. The Lord guided my day. Because of the way I prayed, my heart was just ready and my eyes were open to look for God in unexpected ways. I had prayed willing to receive what He had for me that day.
This month we are celebrating “Unexpected Blessings”. Normally when you hear that phrase you think of a new addition to the family. Your blessing could be that (in fact I have one of those I love dearly.) Unexpected blessings could be a bonus at work, or a friend dropping by. A letter from a loved one or a child coming to the Lord. I challenge your to prepare your heart each day to ask the Lord to make you ready for the unexpected, you’ll be glad you did.
Things to ponder:
- Have you ever received an unexpected blessing? What was it?
- How do you prepare your heart for the day?
- Have you read Jabez’ prayer? How can it encourage you to be ready for what the Lord has for you each day?
An Unexpected Blessing
I was pleasantly surprised when my sister-in-law called to tell me my niece was getting baptised and invited us to attend. She wrote a letter to her mom expressing her desire to be baptised. I, of course, had to scrap it!
Click image for larger view. Click here for description and to read letter.
A card I made using scraps from the baptism layout. Clicking images will take you to their description.
- National Day of Prayer
- Song Sunday
- Blessing of Provision
- Thursday Thought
- Song Sunday
- How God Provides
Faithfully Yours Store
- Karen Foster’s Baptism collection-Cleansing Waters, Stained Glass, Baptism Collage Words, Baptism Title sticker, My Baptism cardstock stickers
- Retirement paper by Inspirational Memories
- Photo frames-embossed faux leather
Back in stock:
I know for many, May is a busy month. Be open to what God has in store for you. Have a blessed week!