Jabez: a Prayer for Real Estate

Tom Bartha

READ : 1 Chronicles 4:5-10

A passer-by observed a fellow on a park bench reading a telephone directory. He scanned each page as one might read a novel. Finally the observer questioned the man about his reading. “The plot isn’t much,” came the reply, “but, man, what a cast of characters!”

Today’s reading seems like an obscure cast of characters. Then suddenly a short note about Jabez interrupts the list of Jewish names. He is introduced as “more honorable than his brothers.” Why? An indication may be found in his brief yet magnificent prayer: “O that you would bless me and enlarge my territory.” Jabez may have been the youngest brother. Was the “farm” too small for all the brothers? Jabez felt the pressure of his material needs. He cried out to God on the basis of God’s promise to provide.

Feelings of self-sufficiency may prevent us from bringing our material needs before God. We may feel selfish. Jabez recognized how God oversees every dimension of our lives, caring about every detail.


God of all blessings, all we have comes from your gracious hand. Thankyou for the many ways you respond to our daily needs, through Jesus. Amen.