Draw Close to God
A “Hearer of Prayer”
DOES Jehovah God really answer the sincere prayers of devoted worshippers? The Bible account about a little-known man named Jabez shows that Jehovah is indeed the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) This brief account is found in what might seem an unlikely place—in the midst of the genealogical lists that open the book of First Chronicles. Let us examine 1 Chronicles 4:9, 10.
All that we know about Jabez is found in these two verses. According to verse 9, his mother “called his name Jabez, saying: ‘I have given him birth in pain.’”* Why did she choose such a name? Did she bring forth this son with more than the usual birth pangs? Was she perhaps a widow, lamenting the fact that her husband was not there to welcome their baby into the world? The Bible does not say. But this mother would someday have reason to be especially proud of this son. Jabez’ siblings may have been upright men, but “Jabez came to be more honorable than his brothers.”
Jabez was a man of prayer. He began his prayer by pleading for God’s blessing. He then made three requests that reflect a heart full of faith.
First, Jabez implored God, saying: “Enlarge my territory.” (Verse 10) This honorable man was no land-grabber, coveting what belonged to his fellow man. His earnest request may have had more to do with people than land. He may have been asking for the peaceful enlargement of his territory so that it could hold more worshippers of the true God.*
Second, Jabez pleaded for God’s “hand” to be with him. God’s symbolic hand is his applied power, which he uses to help his worshippers. (1 Chronicles 29:12) To receive the requests of his heart, Jabez looked to the God whose hand is not short toward those who show faith in him.—Isaiah 59:1.
Third, Jabez prayed: “Preserve me from calamity, that it may not hurt me.” The expression “that it may not hurt me” may suggest that Jabez prayed, not to escape calamity, but to be kept from being grieved or overcome by the effects of evil.
Jabez’ prayer revealed his concern for true worship and his faith and trust in the Hearer of prayer. How did Jehovah respond? This brief account concludes with the words: “Accordingly God brought to pass what he had asked.”
The Hearer of prayer has not changed. He delights in the prayers of worshippers. Those who place their faith and trust in him may have this confidence: “No matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.”—1 John 5:14.
The name Jabez comes from a root that can mean “pain.”
The Targums, Jewish paraphrases of the Sacred Scriptures, render Jabez’ words: “Bless me with children, and enlarge my borders with disciples.”