Twenty three years ago, Dr. Bruce Wilkinson of Walk Through the Bible,* published a little book entitled “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life.“ It became very popular, very fast. Before too long it was a merchandising franchise and became something of a “good luck charm.” Over time, the phenomenon crossed the line into something of a prosperity gospel and either fell away, or at least, fell out of our circles.
Recently, I found, not the book, but that passage being referenced in an article about stepping out of our comfort zones.
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain. ‘ So God granted him what he requested.”
That struck a nerve! What if you stick “comfort zone” in place of “territory” in Jabez’s prayer. We all have places we are most comfortable, and people with whom we are most comfortable, but what if “seeking the kingdom” is out there?
- “God, help me to love that obnoxious neighbor who needs You.”
- “God, help to love that irritating co-worker who needs a shoulder to cry on”
- “Help me to love that fellow congregant who needs a friend!”
“God, please expand my comfort zone!”
And start with me,
*Bruce left walk through the Bible shortly after Jabez, and moved to South Africa