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The Prayer of Jabez

Your responses to: Problems with the Prayer of Jabez

New February 18

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From Kevin: I just happened to come across your article online re; The Problems with The Prayer of Jabez!  Now although my time would not allow me the opportunity of reading the whole article, the first thing that came to mind from the title alone insulting and degrading to the Christian faith is such an attack.

All of a sudden all Christians sit front-row-center, appearing like all false religions, empty and foolish, full of back-biting and envy and no different than the pagans. Kind of like the denominational craze, all of mans doing, with each one proposing to be better than the next. This is not what Jesus taught us to be like at all.

Why is it that we so-called 'Perfect Christians' continue to bite the backs of others, choosing to tear down, ridicule, make mockery of, etcetera, etcetera...and make all Christians, not only look like fools, but also as one more group of odd balls out chasing fantasies and full of wild and outlandish expectations.

Not everyone is perfect Berit, especially you or I, nor can the conservative or liberal, or the positive thinking preachers of today ever match up with God's true holiness and righteousness. I don't agree with everything I read or see either...but on that note, Jesus Himself said in Mark 9:39,40, (NIV) "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us." In other words...if they are not against Him, then they must be for Him.

It is one thing as a leader for us to stand against issues that deliberately defile scripture, Same-Sex Marriage and their underlying agendas or Bishops and Ministers, lifting up and endorsing Homosexuality within the pulpit etc., ... but it is yet another to shun the direct work of the Lord who has clearly worked through the author of The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkinson, whom I do not know by the way. Bruce like all of us cannot get everything perfect, but once again, at least the word of Christ is being preached and the people are being drawn to the word so that God Himself can implant to them their role in sharing His perfect word, by means of His imperfect messengers.

I know that I'm not perfect, Kevin. But I want more than anything to more deeply know, serve and follow my Lord. And that involves checking everything I read, hear and do according to the Scriptures He has given us.


My article was not an attack on Bruce Wilkinson. I was responding to many letters from concerned visitors who asked me to read and advise them. I wrote the review after much prayer. By His grace, I sought to understand what the author and publisher together were teaching people (believers and unbelievers) around the world concerning our Lord and His promises.


I'm not going to repeat the concerns I shared in the article, but I would like to urge all our friends and visitors to carefully and prayerfully consider everything they read in light of God's Word. The following exhortation may not be very politically correct in today's postmodern churches and dialectic groups, but it as relevant as ever to you and I and others who long to follow Jesus and His narrow way:

         "Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things..."  2 Timothy 4:2-5

From John B: Ran across your take on the Jabez deal -- I agree -- it's one of many prayer formats that the Word of God gives to us -- it has it's place along with many others.

Regarding the following  sentence from your article, I have a question for you:


 "Since the prayer of Jabez precedes the New Testament call to absolute commitment...."


I don't quite agree with the term "commitment" -- I was saved in 1972 and have been learning over the years, so I've been at this for awhile.  Where does it say that we are to "commit our lives to Christ?" -- I hear that quite often. To me, salvation has nothing to do with commitment -- if it did, then we would have to "work" our way to Heaven. Commitment involves work -- salvation and eternal life has to do with belief, not commitment. What is your opinion on that?

That's a very good question, John. Yes, salvation is by faith in the redemption Jesus Christ bought for us through His death on the cross. [See What it means to be a Christian] Likewise, our walk with Him is by faith in His all-sufficient life and His strength in all our weakness. See The Secret of Abundant Life


He has called us to a wonderful covenant relationship with Himself, but He will not take second place in our lives. He calls us to surrender our lives and love Him with all our hearts, which means following His ways. And He warns us that if we walk according to our human nature and selfish desires rather than by His Spirit, we have reason to question whether we were actually regenerated (born again) by His Spirit.


Consider these Scriptures. They show us that we must follow God's way, but we can only do it by His grace. We must choose to repent (turn away from our old ways) and to follow Him -- then He enables us by His Spirit. Both our salvation and our daily walk must be by faith.

" out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13


"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment."  Matthew 22:37-38


If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." John 14:23

"...whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it..."  Luke 14:27-28

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25


" out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13


"...present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.... Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."  Romans 12:1-2, 9

" not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."
Romans 6:13-14


"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-30


"I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." Philippians 3:8-11


"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24


Find more Scriptures here: Called to Total Commitment

From Francis Egenias: I'm from the Philippines. I'm a part-time student in an evangelical seminary. I've been a Christian for 20 years. But I still haven't figured out the correct theology of prayer.

Yes, the booklet suggests "name it and claim it." I agree with your comment that it is not the words that make the prayer answered, it is God who answers the prayer. The booklet focuses on the prayer itself, not on the God who answered the prayer of Jabez.

Sometimes, a Korea study prayer tour is conducted by my church. I cant help but think that it might suggest that if we Filipinos just pray like the Koreans, then God would bless the Philippines in the same way He is blessing South Korea now"!

Sometimes I feel that the prevailing sentiment is that the most number of answered prayers is the mark of spirituality; or if not that, the more "holier" a prayer sounds, the more spiritual the person is (example - remember the 2 missionary hostages in Mindanao? people who pray for their release seem to be less spiritual than those who prayed that the 2 won't be released so they can still reach out to their captors!).

I'm confused. But I still pray, without ceasing. Whether He grants my prayer or not, praise Him! I don't believe in "name it and claim it." I know that God solely decides whether He grants a prayer or not, and He is not persuaded by prayers in the same manner Judges are persuaded by lawyers. If He grants a prayer, it is because He wills it and it will give Him glory, and not because of the right choice of words.

This may sound selfish but what I like about prayer is the "peace of God that surpasses all understanding" which God gives immediately after praying. God's peace is the best antidote to unbelief. God's peace assures me that He heard my prayer and I am assured that whatever His response is, it is in exercise of His sovereign will. Either way (yes or no), praise the Lord!

It seems to me you have found the answer, Francis. Maybe it has more to do with you relationship to God than the words you use to talk with Him.

Your letter reminded me of some of the psalms where David or other psalmists begin by expressing their concerns and griefs -- but end up just praising their God and delighting in Him.  I so appreciate your faith and responsiveness!

From Linda Cooper-Smith: In reading the book Prayer of Jabez, I did receive the message from Mr. Wilkerson that God gives us everything we want. What I understood the author to say is God loves us and wants to bless us. Christians need to build their faith through prayer and study, just as we build our bodies through proper food and exercise. God wants a personal, intimate relationship with each of us, and he wants to bless us with gifts and his love.

God does answer our prayers. Sometimes the answer is not what we want to hear. Sometimes it is “Yes”. Sometimes the answer is “No”. Sometimes the answer is “Wait and listen for MY will.” As our faith builds, our eyes are opened to the wonders and blessings that have been part of our lives all along. Maintaining a positive, joyful attitude attracts people of like mind. God’s power and spirit are present where 3 or 4 of his people are gathered in worship.

Perhaps you could re-read the book. Keep an open mind to the message of God’s love for us and his desire to bless us. Surely, you do not expound that God wants bad things for us. It is true, sometimes bad things happen, and we may not understand why. That is when faith comes into play, and we must be patient. Many, many times the picture becomes clearer with time and distance from pain.

Linda, you didn't deal with my specific concerns. Perhaps you could re-read my article. Jabez words are Biblical and God answered his prayer. But Wilkinson and his publisher promise readers who follow his extra-biblical formula -- whether believers or not -- more than God tells us in His Word.

From Al: You would give Jesus a good laugh. Your diatribe on the prayer of Jabez is purely intellectual jealousy, or certainly appears to be. Probably commercial based as well. "Gee why didn't I think of that". It's pitiful.


Absolutely nowhere in the prayer or in the P.R. regarding the prayer have I read where it is said to "say this prayer instead of others". Your type of self-righteous indignation toward a beautiful concept and prayer, with your academic field dressing of it's true message, puts you in the same category as those who tried to trip Jesus with their questions.

The prayer is simply that. It's tool for communication with God. Someone has called our attention to it, and has given us some ideas on how it may be of benefit to our spiritual and natural lives.


I think Jesus, Moses, David, and especially Paul would have a good howl over a glass of wine and say, " Is this guy nuts, doesn't he realize that we'll take anything in this day and age that will bring our people closer to the Father. Even a little obscure prayer. We're glad SOMEBODY NOTICED, after all these years. This crossroads, guy, whats his name, whoever, needs to stop majoring in minors, and find some practical spirituality. The kind Jesus talks about". Then Paul would smile and say, "I think I wrote something about
that in one of my letters, didn't I ?" To which Jesus would respond, " Yeah, with my help."

Al, did you really read my article? You didn't address any of my concerns. I don't believe you understood any of my points.

From John:  Why is it when someone finds out how thing really work your can find the time to take issue with it? I am only responding to your web site because while deep despair I received the book Prayer of Jabez and, guess what, it worked. I like you say jesue loves me this i know because the bible tells me so.

My simple thought is this, all of the things that God did were simple. He said "let there be light" and there was light. He said let the earth bring forth cattle and grasses and if did. So why when one man  who was more honorable than is brethren prays a simple prayer and get his request honored you find that selfish?

No, I don't, John. I appreciate both Jabez and his prayer. God obviously heard him and responded with love and blessings.

Did you not ask for forgiveness? Did you not as a little child belive? Did we forget that even the woman was caught in the very act of adultery was dismissed by a simple and elegant statement. Where have your accusers gone? Go and sin no more least some thing more terrible befall you.

Simple and to the point. The world will not change because of our veiled attemps to condem them and point out the errors of their ways, They choose those ways on a simple one choice at a time. I cannot tell you why I found your web site nor can I say if we will ever meet. But this I hold true. God's ways  are simple and child like It is us the wise beyond our age folks who could stand to look at one thing that Jesus the Son Of God Said. Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Just a thought.

I appreciate your emphasis on the simplicity of faith and life in Christ, John, and I agree with you. I also appreciate the Scriptures you included. And I know that Jabez’ prayer is a Biblical prayer. But you didn’t really answer the concerns I mentioned in the article.  It is so easy for our finite minds to think that a particular prayer or formula "works," when it is God (not our words) Who brings the answer.  

Second letter from John:  Berit, The point that you made is what started me thinking maybe it was not the prayer of Jabez being repeated, but the act of writing a book about it that was God's way to, in principle, answer the authors prayer and he in over looking the simple process of acting and sharing the prayer with others, his borders where enlarged. This is the point that your article helped me arrive at.. Neat how when we set out to instruct others  we learn a little bit ourselves. thanks for you site.

I am glad we can encourage each other, John.

From Terrence Clark, DMD: I have just read your article, Problems with The Prayer of Jabez. Just wanted to let you know I felt it was absolutely right on. It drives at the heart of what Christianity really is, what our true relationship with God is and what our obligation to Him in our daily lives is.

The commentary about people today wanting a “feel good god” is correct and insightful. People buy every gadget on TV that promises better health with only one simple exercise a day, only one daily supplement, only this or only that, because it promises what they want and they don’t have to work for it. It is the lottery mentality of something for nothing, of getting everything you want without any real effort or sacrifice. Everywhere we look in the world, people want to do as they please and avoid any consequences for their behavior.

As a dentist, I make a living fixing what generally people could have avoided if they would have just made a reasonable effort to take care of their teeth. Doctors treat diseases every day that are primarily diseases of choice, caused by people’s lifestyles. Invariably, people come in to see us, wanting us to wave a magic wand and make all the problems they themselves have created, simply go away. They want simple answers that don’t cost too much, cause any pain, and can be done without any real change in their lifestyle.

Many Christians want to treat their spirit like they treat their body. They think the Gospel should provide a simple, painless, quick formula that will make their sinful lives OK again. Christ never taught this and His life’s example was just the opposite.

The old cliché, “I never said it would be easy; I only said it would be worth it”, is right on target. Christ gave His precious and perfect life for us and all we want to give in return is a repetitive two minute prayer each day?

Mr. Kjos quotes the right scriptures, and there are many more good examples that prove beyond any doubt, that God expects us to do our very best, to give our all, to sacrifice whatever it takes, even our own lives if necessary, for the Kingdom of God. This is what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. Following the formula from the Prayer of Jabez, no offense to the good things within it, is like buying the Abs Machine and assuming we’ll never have another health issue again.


From Rob:  I just read your comments about the Prayer of Jabez and thank you for your insights. I don't fully agree with you though. I believe that if we pray the prayer "in His will," then the answer will come. This is where I believe the problem lays.

Perhaps some would like to see the Scripture that supports your words, Rob:

"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. " 1 John 5:14-15

Many believers wish to pray the Jabez for their will. If we pray it so that our territory enlarges so only He may be glorified, then it is in His will. I agree that many Christians try to take the shortcut in their sanctification, and this mis-understanding of the Jabez prayer can be one of them. Also, I agree the repetition of a prayer is wrong if it is more like chanting. We should be never ceasing in prayer, but not chanting.

I really enjoyed your insight into noting Jesus gave us another prayer, which emphasized praise, His will, praying for provision, and obedience.

Thank you, Rob.

Anonymous:  I don't like the prayer namely because it seems to me people want to use it for selfish gain, but like James said, God does not hear selfish prayers. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." I do believe God does provide for us though, and it is his will for Christians to prosper in everything, but the big 'Prayer of Jabez' explosion seems more like religious nonsense.  I don't mean good religion, but the Pharisee kind of religion (if you know what I mean).

I'm not sure I know what you mean, but I appreciate the quote from James 4:3.


God -- in His love and wisdom -- may answer our self-focused requests, but sometimes His answers become part of His disciplines. For example, when ancient Israel complained about their monotonous diet during their years in the wilderness, God heard their prayer but His answer brought pain after a short moment of pleasure:

"They did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." Psalm 106:13-15

From Dan Goor:  The most fundamentally flawed part of the book has to do with a missed translation. In Chron. 1 4:9 it does not say that Jabez was more HONORABLE than his brothers, which would mean of better character, higher integrity, etc. what it actually say is the he was more honored than were his brothers. This simply means that others thought more highly of him, not that he was better.

Thank you, Dan.

From Michael Stephens: I would like to comment on the article about the Jabez prayer. I believe now more than ever, we as Christians need to make a stand and stick together. I feel that instead of pointing out negatives or what is wrong with a particular book, we need to show and teach how to use it properly.


I am a avid reader of the Jabez book and devotional. I have read each numerous times and continue to read them. At first when I read the book, I was looking for an answer to help my business and personal life to succeed in world and my own terms. As I read the book more and was given the devotional, I am finding the true importance in life and my Christian walk. My business is not mine but God's and I should pray for God to bless it more and expand it's territory so it in turn can be used as a greater witness for God and can be used to further HIS kingdom.


I should also be thinking the same for my personal life. What needs to be discussed about the book and the prayer is how to look past the World's view of success and focus on God's view. How we should put our life totally in HIS hands and not our own. How we should not let fear rule our lives but allow GOD to work in our lives.


I hope that you are not offended by this e-mail and I hope that you might take a second look at the book and see how to use it as a tool to teach further dependance on GOD.

I am not offended, Michael. Instead I appreciate your heart and your message. But please read our article again. I think you missed our main concern. The fact that the book includes many truths based on the Bible doesn't excuse the extra-biblical promises made by both the author and the publisher.


You say that "we as Christians need to make a stand and stick together" and keep from "pointing of pointing out negatives." Your first point is true, but the second part is not Biblical. Yes, God wants us to encourage each other with the good things He gives and promises us, but we must also help each other be accurate and show Biblical integrity in our expressions. In other words, we must follow His guidelines and not ignore His vital exhortations and warnings. He tells us to -

"Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things..."  2 Timothy 4:2-5

From Teresa Tickner: I have read your article on the 'net - Problems with the prayer of Jabez, and i am relieved that i have found someone else who sees it simply for what it is, a notation of a man's cry to God; not a method for us to pray to God, as our instructions come from Jesus - "when ye pray, pray in this manner..."

I ask simply for Jesus to lead me each and every day, until i go home again. The Lord bless you.

       Thank you, Teresa.


From Hargis:  Ramsay Devereux wrote about the repetition of prayer. Does he mean to say that when we continue to pray for a certain situation that God only wants to hear it once? And gets upset with us if we pray more than once. Matt. 6:7 says to not use vain repetitions. God has asked me to pray for a person and continues to remind to do so even though it has been 18 months. I continue every day. Is this his idea of repetition?


It seems that Satan has got the Christians doing exactly what he wants, and that is attacking one another instead of looking at themselves. God doesn't need us to take care of Him He is quite capable of doing that Himself. In John 21:21,22 (paraphrased comment) Peter was wondering what was to happen to John. Jesus said in a sense be concerned about your self and only that and follow me.

Instead of being busy doing God's will in our life, we are busy tearing down the body of Christ for Satan. And he is laughing the whole time, saying these people are dumber than I thought.

You ask good questions, Hargis. No, we can repeat prayers. Jesus tells us to persist in prayer - to ask, seek and knock - again and again -- and not lose faith or hope.  And you are wise to emphasize “vain” repetitions. That makes all the difference. It's easy to get into a habit of mindless prayer -- just repeating the words as a daily ritual rather than worshipping God with mind and heart.

Keep in mind, my concern was not prayer itself, or even the prayer that Jabez prayed. My concern was the blanket promise and suggestions, made by Wilkinson and his publisher, that this particular prayer would bring particular blessing for all who prayed it. God doesn't make such promises to anyone -- especially not to those who are following Him. Many -- from all kinds of religions -- are looking for easy answer and unconditional blessings these days. Some of His most faithful disciples faced loneliness, poverty and martyrdom. Their blessing is realized in heaven -- when we feast in His presence.

And Hagris, offering warnings in love which are based on God's Word is not "attacking one another." Remember what He tells us in 2 Timothy 4:2


From Renee:  Have you seen all the Prayer of Jabez "stuff" that's out there now? Besides the original book, you can now get:

--The Prayer of Jabez for Women/Teens/Kids/Young
Hearts (ages 4-7)/Little Ones (ages 2-4)
--TPoJ for Women Study Guide
--TPoJ Bible Study
--TPoJ Devotionals
--TPoJ Journal
--TPoJ Video Curriculum
--TPoJ Music CDs and tapes
--TPoJ prayer shawl, keychain, coffee mug, Bible

cover, mouse pad, framed calligraphy, lace wall
hanging, desk calendar, magnetic notepad, picture
book, t-shirt, wall cross, lapel pin, etc.... (Just
what we need--more "Jesus Junk" [or, in this case,
"Jabez Junk"])

And last but not least:
--Jabez: The Novel (advertised at the CBD website this way: "You've read the book and prayed the prayer--now meet the man! Beginning with the nugget of description from 1 Chronicles, Thom Lemmons penetrates the mystery surrounding the life of Jabez in this encouraging novel. Discover who this prayer warrior was, find out what struggles prompted him to pray for blessing, and learn what happened next." Talk about eisegesis!)

Don't you just love how they market things to

On the lighter side, Douglas Jones has written a parody of Wilkinson's book, called The Mantra of Jabez: Break on Through to the Other Side. Maybe there's hope after all....


From Darla: I disagree with this brother in Christ.  For a contrast, check out the Focus on the Family web site at and type in Prayer of Jabez in the "search the site" box.  Note all the related items James Dobson uses in regard to this prayer.

Darla, I find that today's "consensus" on spiritual matters often ignores what the Bible actually tells us -- especially some of the less popular Scriptures. I would rather take my stand on God's Word -- even the passages that offends -- than to be popular and please everyone.

It is somewhat curious that this book has attracted so much negative attention from Christians who also suffer from the disease of what my NT and Greek professor called, I - sogesis (as in "I" see it the way "I" think it is) as opposed to exegesis of the text.  Bruce Wilkinson preaches Jesus Christ.  He has brought untold thousands of Christians into a deeper understanding of the Bible and walk with the Lord.  We are on the same team.  Jesus said, "if you aren't against me, you are for me."  

Actually, it is the other way around. Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters." Luke 11:23

I think this guy is overreacting to how he thinks people will react to Wilkinson's application of the Prayer of Jabez.  For example, we went through this book in our Wed. Bible study.  I have two brand new (50 yr. old) Christians in my class and I explained almost exactly what this guy says are the negatives of Jabez.  They did not misapply it as a 'health and weath' gospel or 'name it and claim it' message at all.  They accepted it as a
prayer for God to enlarge our effectiveness for Jesus Christ.

The focus of my concern was not "health and wealth" Darla. Please read Problems with the Prayer of Jabez again.

I understand what the detractors are saying but I believe they need to focus on something that is a real problem.  He is concerned that casual readers will stop at the first part of the book.  Casual readers of the Bible do the same thing.  Should we blame the writers or the book when the reader doesn't do a full and complete study of the entire Bible before trying to derive benefit from it?

My concern deepened as I read to the end of the book. Please see the passages I quoted.

The Apostle John says to 'discern the spirits' to see whether they be of God.  Reading this guy's information gave me a feeling of a rigid, legalistic approach to the Word and only he (the writer of the article) is the one who has the real truth.  He tries to nail Wilkinson for being wrong while he is right.  The Pharisees liked being right as well.  Matthew 23 tells what Jesus thought about them and their attitudes.  Mt. 23:24 says, "You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."  I think this guy is straining out a gnat with his criticism.


From Mary: I read your article on the Prayer of Jabez and I am thankful that God's word was presented to lead others in the truth.  So many are suffering because of our economy that the first thing they hear to relieve them of such burdens, they go for. I wish more people would go for the Word of God in their lives.

I had been through so much, but it was only the promises of God that brought me through the tough times. And they were tough. I am thankful for what God brought me through because I learned to look to Him instead of this world.

God is Sovereign and He will do as He pleases with His creation to bring us closer to Him. If we begin to pray a set prayer, we leave out praise to God and He inhabits our praise. I believe that when we praise Him through the tough times, he is pleased. How easy it is to praise Him when everything is great and some forget when life is great. I remember when I was at a dark hour, I was told to claim what I needed and that I was the head not the tail. I prayed for discernment. I looked in the Word and found that God wanted me to trust Him with my life no matter what.

What God did with Jabez was wonderful, but when God sent His Son to die for a dying world, it was even greater because Jesus is the answer to all that we need.

Thank you, Mary, for the message that has been tested in your life and established in your heart. You remind me of Romans 8:26,  "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

From Stuart: I want to thank you guys for your examination of the prayer of Jabez. I am glad that you are thinkers and don't take stuff just because it is written in a book. However, I do think that if you really look at the prayer that you may have missed Jabez intent. He knew his position in life. He was to serve, honor, obey, and love God. The prayer that Jabez prayed was not to get, rather to get to give. His real blessing was a relationship with God. Keep up the examination.

Thanks, Stuart. But you are reading more into the life and intentions of Jabez than the Bible tells us.

From Jolene Laychuk, Canada:  I just read your article RE: The Prayer of Jabez. You mentioned that God does not always answer our prayers as the book suggests. I understand the other points you made, but in this instance, I do not agree. God DOES answer this prayer because the one praying is asking for God's will, not specific things. I believe that kind of prayer is honored by God. Furthermore, if God is using the book to help people lead miraculous, spirit-filled lives, who are we to criticize? Did God speak to you especially and tell you the book was wrong? Does that mean he loves you more than the majority who "fell" for the books message? I admit, I have questions too, but I think prayer is more befitting than crushing the faith of many through your daunting criticism. God can and will use whatever means to draw people to himself.

Jolene, I appreciate your heart and I don't doubt that God answers your prayers. But He doesn't necessarily  answer the prayers of the non-Christians who read the book, nor those who rebel against Him. Please look again at my article and see some of the references that show God's conditions for answered prayer.

From Dennis M: I immediately identified with the letter sent in by Sharon Bryant, especially the part where she said that when she has sent your articles out to friends and family, they became upset. Apparently even her husband was somewhat upset. This type of response from many other professing Christians has also been my experience.


I attend a good Baptist Bible believing church, although I have seen some "relaxation" on certain things. For example, one church member said that sometimes people (meaning you) will write a negative slant on someone else's material (the Prayer of Jabez book) because they can't get their own stuff published. I did not respond to his remark, because my reaction was "say what!?!?"


His response basically made no sense to me, and I instantly knew it did not apply to you at all. He then asked me if I had read the book. Well, I had to be honest and tell him I had not. So, I went out and bought one. I still have not read it. I simply cannot get past the forward, in which is stated in so many words that this is the prayer that God ALWAYS answers.


I just cannot get past that, because it is NOT what I read out of the Bible. I ask the Lord everyday to keep me from idols. Again I thank Him and you for your material, which has helped me so very much. Again I must tell you that your books "In His Name" are so edifying to me.


From Jesse: I'm a 17 year old teen living in Christ, who came upon your article on 'The prayer of Jabez' while surfing the net for some more information on the book as I'm much interested in reading it. Although I have not yet read the book myself, I have heard personally on air Dr. Bruce Wilkinson's talk on Jabez's prayer with Dr. Dobson on Focus On The Family - a few times to be exact, and I have understood what Dr. Wilkinson is SAYING, not 'implying', in introducing and discussing the prayer of Jabez.


In point 2. of your article, where it's written -

"The preface of the book implies that God not only answer this prayer, His answer is always "yes."
That's a denial of some of the Bible's guidelines for answered prayer. For example, Psalm 66:18 tells us that "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." And Proverbs 21:13 warns, "Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard."

I, for one, have heard Dr. Wilkinson explaining clearly and not only that, EMPHASIZING the important point that God will not hear us and work fully in us while we keep sin in us. He explains this very clear when he talked about how vital it is not to sin when discussing the part 2-3 of the Jabez prayer, that when the enemy targets in on us because we're expanding our
borders (in sense of ministry) and moving into his territory, and we continue asking God for more ministry that he takes it right past us so that we are beyond overwhelmed to do it in our own strength, that's when we really ask for God to 'let his hand be upon us' and HE will do it in us and we'll know it, and give him the credit. That's when Dr. Wilkinson points out that it's vital that we don't sin in the midst of it.

So, the bottom line is, I don't think that you can say or should say that what Dr. Wilkinson 'implis' (as you put it - it's not even what he actually 'says'!) in his book is a "a denial of some of the Bible's guidelines for answered prayer" and the xample that follows which you gave on sin.

Your points are all good, Jesse, and I agree with much of what you say. But my article was based on the Wilkinson's book, not his radio interview with Dr. Dobson. I was concerned about the unbliblical promises made in the book to both Christians and non-Christians who may never hear him clarify those points.  Remember, he has marketed his books to a worldwide audience. Many don't understand the work of the cross. Nor do they understand the nature and consequences of sin. Yet, those readers are promised (through the book) a "Yes" from God. Wilkinson doesn't know the particular human heart nor God's will for that individual. Therefore, he cannot know how God will respond. This little book illustrates clever marketing techniques, not biblical integrity.

Indeed as Christians, we are to expect and surely have sufferings, pain, and hardships in our lives as Jesus said we would have trouble, but from the Scriptures I think we can know that we are also meant for blessings in our lives (not only in heaven, but while we're on earth), and we miss out on so many blessings we could have when we don't ASK. James said "you have not,  because you ask not"  and on it goes about the wrong things we ask of in vanity of our own world desires which you mention as one of the examples in your article. But the blessing talked about in the prayer of Jabez  (the first part)is not a specific request! It's asking for God to give to us and bless us in ways that he knows best and knows would best bless us the most.

Dr. Wilkinson talked about how the blessing can be in many forms - NOT just the physical and material, but  also what's of our heart! Many times, we don't know or grasp how much we are already blessed and we certainly don't feel much blessed.

The first part of the prayer of Jabez can be asking God to work in our hearts so that we can FEEL blessed and know we are blessed, and have greater joy in abundance through that. It's having our hearts filled with joy and blessings, and that's a blessing in itself.

That is so true, Jesse. How blessed we are to know Him and be filled with His life!

Grant Noble:  Your analysis of the "Prayer of Jabez" was excellent. I wondered why it exploded out of nowhere.  Maybe it was because our New World Order "Masters" were trying to get us sidetracked from real prayer before the big terror attacks.


From Larry:  I've been a Christian as long as I can remember. However, it's only in the last 3 years that I've really been reading God's word. When I heard about the prayer of Jabez, I was skeptical at first. Then as I heard more stories of it and even my mother told me to start using, whom I admire and trust to be a true saint of God, I still couldn't get the nagging feeling that it was wrong. Your article helped me put meat to my thoughts with Biblical references. Thank you!

Also, there's one thing that everyone fails to see about Jabez... "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers..." 1 Chron. 4:9. Don't you think this had something to do with his answered prayer, and not just the prayer itself (I'm talking to those who believe in the prayer and not you of course.).

Jabez trusted God when he began to pray, but God's answer surely strengthen his faith and made him more honorable. His heart and faith were more important than the words of the prayer. Anyone can pray nice words, but God tests the heart. And He is always faithful to bless those who trust Him. (Did I understand your question correctly?)

Yes, you did interpret my question correctly, and I agree whole heartedly that it's what's in the heart and not what you pray.

There's one other scripture reference that refers to this same thing. Ps 37:4 "Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart." I interpret this verse to not only say he'll give you the desires that you have, but you will be given God's desires as well. So, your desires will be His desires.


I see Christians who interpret this as to, He will give me wealth, success, etc. if I delight myself in Him. However, I don't think they truly realize that as they delight themselves in Christ, they're desires for worldly things changes and become desires of Christ. It's an amazing transformation.

Thank you, Larry, for your insights. I so appreciate your heart.

From R: Your article on Dr. Wilkerson’s book, as with most of your website, seems to find fault everywhere accept in your little world in Tonga (.to). The .to relegates most everything you have to say to that of a small, insignificant, envious cry baby.

Thanks for the opportunity to explain our domain name. When we tried to find a meaningful domain name a few years ago, everything we liked had already been claimed within the standard in .com, .org, and .net.  So when our server offered us .to, we saw an opportunity to use one of the names we liked. At the time, we were told that the king of Tonga was Christian. That was welcome news. So we do not live in a "little world in Tonga." And I would guess that the king is more than happy to let a big U.S. server handle the domain for his land. 

While reading this fantastic little book, I did not once consider making it a mantra. How could you even suggest that was anyone’s intention? Each of the four parts of the prayer are beautifully explained. The book’s purpose is clearly *NOT* to enrich or empower Dr. Wilkerson, but to enlighten readers as to the power of prayer, and for each reader to search his/her soul as to the purposefulness of their own prayers, and ask God for blessings that might allow them to do MORE work for God…

Your motives may be pure, and wholly Christian, but your entire website reeks of envy, jealousy, and boredom. Why spend so much time “crucifying” the works of others?????

I write these warnings because God tells us in Ezekiel 3 and 33 to be His watchmen: Ez 3:17-27

You obviously know the Bible inside-out. I would much rather consider YOUR commentary on Jabez’s prayer, than your commentary on Dr. Wilkerson’s commentary…

I did comment on Jabez's prayer. It is good -- a special part of God's wonderful Word.  My concern focused on the unbiblical promises made by Dr. Wilkerson and his marketing people.


From Dennis Monroe: The pastor of the church I attend is definitely a Bible believing man who  preaches the truth of the Gospel and goes to great lengths to adhere to God's truth. However, he is young (32) and has of late, I think, been  somewhat "hood-winked" by the book "Prayer of Jabez." I have heard him mention it a few times during a couple of his recent sermons. Last Sunday I even heard the words "Wilkinson says" come from the pulpit. I really don't think anyone else caught it, but I did, mainly because of your writings on the subject and the Lord's discernment.

As you know, Dennis, people have always sought human authorities who can provide practical "wisdom" on current topics -- better and more pleasing "wisdom" than the body of truth God gave us through His Word. It's can be tempting for leader to paint the gospel with subtle suggestions that "tickle the ears" of followers. 2 Timothy 4:3-4  Andy and I could be vulnerable to this as well. So I keep praying that we not distort His Word or soften the "offense of the cross." We trust Him to lead and humble us as we continue to encourage and exhort one another to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord, not popular messages and human sages. But such a commitment will not make us popular in today's "feel good" culture. 

From John: I read your webpage about the book and audio tape called "The Prayer of Jabez".  After reading your website, I have come to the conclusion that you did not listen to the audio cassette made by Bruce Wilkinson.  If you did, you would not have posted such a condeming webpage on such a biblical truth as presented by Bruce Wilkinson.

This book and audio tape in no way suggests the idea of health, wealth, and name it and claim it.  If you listen to what the author is saying you will realize that he is telling people that if you ask God to guide you and to show you what his will for your life is, then he will answer that prayer.  He is telling people to ask God to open their lives to what God has in store for them.  He is using Jabez prayer as a vehicle to motivatge peopel to seek God's will in their lives in the area of saving the lost.

The entire tape is about local and world evangelism.  It's not about your paranoia concerning the likes of "the name it and claim it" group.  Why don't you listen to the man before you criticize him. 

I would be glad to listen to the tape if you would send me a copy. Meanwhile, keep in mind that my concern focused on what Wilkinson promised in his book, not what he teaches elsewhere. 

Second letter from John: What Bruce Wilkinson is doing is using the theme of the Jabez prayer to teach concepts about spreading the gospel.  He is not advocating that people pray the prayer literally over and over like a Budhist monk or to chant the prayer as Catholics do.  The theme in the Jabez prayer is the same theme in the Lord's prayer, which is "Father, thy will be done." He is advocating that people pray the themes and ideas of the prayer.
Here are the basic themes found in both prayers:  1)  God give me opportunities to help others and to share the gospel with others.  Let Thy will be done.
2)  Lord, I depend totally upon you to accomplish your will for me in my life.   3)  Lord, protect us and deliver us from evil.
The idea that Bruce is sharing with all of us is to pray these themes in our own words, or you could use the words of either prayer, The Prayer of Jabez or the Lord's prayer.  Bruce is not teaching that there is some kind of magic in these prayers.  He is teaching that if we pray for God's Will to be done, then it will be done.

Of course there are going to be those who will abuse this teaching.  Just like the "name it and claim it" crowd abuse scripture.  I imagine that there are some out there who think this is a prayer for personal income growth, and they will try to abuse it.  Just about every scripture has been abused by someone.  We can't throw out the water with the baby.  You can't throw out scripture just because Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, or Kenneth Hagin uses various scripture.  The Bible is the Bible.  You have to rightly divide the Word of God.  Just because Kenneth Copeland says that "God supplies all my needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus" is not a reason for us to not learn from that scripture.  I can't throw that scripture out just because Copeland says it a thousand times over the TV set.  Likewise with the Prayer of Jabez, we can't mock this scripture, strike it out, or delegate it to the category of "non-use" just because some Bible dean tries to abuse it and to get money for the college.  The ideas of both prayers are powerful links to God and His will for our lives.

I agree, John.  That's why I showed appreciation for Jabez' Biblical prayer. I did not criticize or demean the Bible. I shared my concern over some specific promises that Wilkinson -- not God -- made to all his readers.  God's doesn't give us permission or authority to make unconditional spiritual promises that reach far beyond what he promises the masses in His Word.    

All of the leading conservative preachers have no problem with The Prayer of Jabez:  James D. Kennedy, James Dobson, Billy Graham, R.C. Sproll, Adrian Rogers, Chuck Swindoll, and others.  If these Bible scholars have no problem with Wilkinson's use of the prayer, then neither should we.

I try to base my views on God Word -- not on people's opinions. In fact, I'm amazed at the compromises made by many Christian leaders these days. Sometimes it seems that the Shepherds of God's flocks are leading the way toward a new unbiblical consensus. See Harry Potter Lures Kids to Witchcraft - with praise from Christian leaders. The Church follows close behind the world. See Statistics for the Changing Church and Col 2:8.

Vrai:  I agree with you. It is presented as a magic formula for a miracle. Plus as you pointed out, it is not said "in the name of Jesus." The Lord said, whatsoever you ask in my name...  Also, the Bible talks frequently about praying amiss. As you pointed out - the Lord's prayer has all the components for an audience with the Lord - nothing amiss here.


Notice how the book is publicized and popular?  Because most Christians do not want to walk by the way of the cross "as He [Jesus] walked, so are we to walk," they want their flesh served by name it - claim it magic formulas. Sad but true. The one who encourages them in this illusion/delusion/fantasy are the ones they love, and support (teachers having itching ears).   Read Psalm 37.

Thank you for your kind words and for sharing our concerns. May we post your comment on the Jabez page of the comments section?  We appreciate the way you help us make those points.

Sure. Post it in comments. Glad to help - anytime. I too, am very concerned that the Church is preaching "another Jesus" - not the Jesus of faith and obedience - even to death on the cross.

Interesting to note that satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world and boasted that the kingdoms of the world had been delivered into his hands [by the disobedience of Adam and Eve] and all the power and glory of them, to give to whomsoever he will give them to, and he would give them to Jesus if Jesus would worship him (Luke 4:5 -7).

Funny how most Christians swallow this deception and believe that they should have the kingdoms of the world before Rev. ll:15 is fulfilled, when "the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ." Especially as we are told "we have no continuing city here - but seek the one to come." And the Scriptures continually warn us that those who are born in the Spirit should walk in the Spirit and not FULFILL THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH.

Christians fall heed to the same power, money and sex (lusts of the eyes, flesh, and boastful pride of life) that caused the Fall in the first place. Then they try to fix it with FIG LEAF solutions (Genesis 3:7). People do not understand the full doctrine of Jesus Christ. Most still want power and to make a name for themselves - when the Lord has given us those things IN HIM - That HE should have preeminence.  After all, He called Jacob, Israel, which means "a prince having power with God and man," and He made Abraham's name great, and we are the children of Abraham.

Not to mention that we walk in THE POWER OF JESUS' NAME for the promise to Abraham has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. That is why we intercede so diligently - that Christians will READ the Scriptures for themselves and not fall heed to "every wind of doctrine." satan is smart and busy - he is a roaring lion seeking to devour. Like a shark - he swims and eats...he is a destroyer. We need to KNOW - STAND ON- AND WALK in the Word of God as Jesus did. Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh, so that we could be born again and follow Him.

Our prayers are with you as you labour in His Harvest Field for the true Word.

From the Callow family: YOUR CRAZY!!! My Friend Kyle Thinks What"s Wrong With Left Behind?! Pastor"s See Nothing WRONG! Vieggie Tales Are Not EVIL OK Talking Plant"s Are Not EVIL !!!!!!!!!! HOW DUMB CAN YOU GET MS.FYFG6YIGR9F8YHYU8YFYGIDJFHLKSNNHVSKU!!


Are you serious?  

In earlier letters you identified yourself as a Christian. Who is Jesus Christ to you?

From John: I read your webpage about the book and audio tape called "The Prayer of Jabez".  After reading your website, I have come to the conclusion that you did not listen to the audio cassette made by Bruce Wilkinson.  If you did, you would not have posted such a condeming webpage on such a biblical truth as presented by Bruce Wilkinson.

This book and audio tape in no way suggests the idea of health, wealth, and name it and claim it.  If you listen to what the author is saying you will realize that he is telling people that if you ask God to guide you and to show you what his will for your life is, then he will answer that prayer.  He is telling people to ask God to open their lives to what God has in store for them.  He is using Jabez prayer as a vehicle to motivatge peopel to seek God's will in their lives in the area of saving the lost.

The entire tape is about local and world evangelism.  It's not about your paranoia concerning the likes of "the name it and claim it" group. Why don't you listen to the man before you criticize him. 

I appreciate your correction, John, but my only concern was the book that Wilkinson wrote -- not the Biblical prayer nor the tape.  I have not listened to any of his tapes, nor did I write about them.  Please read my article again -- with prayer for God's understanding -- and you will see the focus of my concern. You seem to have missed my main points. 

From a concerned Christian:  (The first part of this letter is posted in  Multiple Topics. I  passed your article of the Prayer of Jabez on to some people I know. There were some varied responses, and I suppose you will get the gamut of negative responses from believers about this article. My nana though wrote to me: "WE ARE VERY GLAD YOU SENT THIS TO US". She also said she probably would have prayed the prayer "expecting great results", she said that she agreed with you and even though the prayer itself is fine and that God may answer it for many people, we should keep our focus on Jesus. 

I got two other positive responses. And two very negative ones. They didn't appear to have read your whole article, they think you were condemning the fact that God has given us promises. Even though he has given us promises, He never promised that we would have no troubles in this life, and never promised that we would live without the consequences of our actions in this life. He never promised it would be an easy road. He always tells us to concentrate first on the kingdom of God and to love him first, then we will get all that we need.

I am so sorry you get these negative reactions to your articles. Sometimes I think that people are so fanatical about say, Sailor Moon (which I never felt "right" about watching) and the Prayer of Jabez that ANY negativity or ANY criticism or even ANY caution means they can make assumptions of how or what you are thinking on a broad spectrum of other topics even if you never expressed them. They stop thinking about it, or even reading the whole article clearly, and start writing angry letters impulsively. At least, that is what I think they are doing, the majority of them.

From Vicky: When I first heard about this book and the concept behind what the author is trying to "teach" a check went off in my spirit. Ever since I initially read the passage in 1 Chron. about Jabez a while ago (before I knew about this book) this is what jumped out at me: Jabez was cursed because of his name. Not only did the name have significance in the physical back then -but in the spiritual. As does our names! This is a lost heritage, I believe, for us as believers! 


In James (don't have my Word in front of me) we are taught that with the tongue we either tear down or build up; it is a powerful sword! Our names have significant meanings! For Jabez, everytime someone said his name, which mean "pain" his life, in the spirit, was being cursed! Another example - take my name, Victoria, which means "victorious in spirit", everytime someone says my name I am being blessed with a victorious spirit! Refresh my memory - was there not a verse in the scriptures that said by calling a brother in the Lord a name it was the same as killing him? The tongue is powerful!


Could you be referring to James 3:8-9? "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God."

Jabez prayed this prayer BECAUSE he knew the ramifications of what his name meant. He was asking God to reverse the curse on his life and make it a blessing instead! This is why we must be careful in the names that we choose to name our children! 

Another point is this: Does not the Word tell us to pray in the Spirit at all times, never ceasing to pray. Does not the Word also tell us that when we don't know what to pray the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings and utterings? If the Spirit knows what to pray then - and we are praying in the SPirit, and we are praying what GOD WANTS to be prayed - should we not also, at ALL times be praying what God is telling us to pray? If he tells us to pray for a blessing, then we shall, or to enlarge our territories we shall pray for that too; but only if and when he instructs us to. We shall NOT try to manipulate God, for all manipulation is a form of witchcraft. When we are praying out of his will, and praying out of our flesh for our fleshly desires we are trying to manipulate the Lord. We must be careful, for to be disobedient is to sin.

The book, I believe, opens up the Bride's eyes to the fact that there are many more things we should be praying for and shouldn't limit what God wants us to pray. But, again, praying only within the confines of what God is telling us to pray. I thought the author was doing a good job explaining to apply the concept of what he asked for to our prayers. However, I was greatly disappointed to the fact that at the end he told the believers to pray the Jabez prayer over and over. That wasn't what he was giving examples of throughout the book. When he mentioned he prayed for the Lord to keep evil from him on an airplane - it was the concept that he was adapting. He didn't say the prayer word for word. Throughout the book he doesn't mention that he said the prayer word for word, but yet he is telling his readers to do this. That really struck a bad chord with me.

I appreciate your insights, Vicky. I don't see everything you see in this passage, but I'm not disagreeing with you. I just can't affirm what God hasn't shown me.  But I praise Him with you for His faithfulness to answer all our prayers when we pray according to His Word and will.


From Char: (Sorry I didn't post this earlier Char)  I got a letter (along with about 2 or 3 million other people) from Focus on The Family and on the outside of the envelope it said, "This is possibly the most important letter I've ever written" Well, of course I tore it open was about the visit this gentleman (forgot just who...maybe B. Wilkinson?) Anyway, then I read it... something just didn't sit right about it. And then on the radio broadcast wednesday morning, he READ the letter.... it sure didn't sit right then.

Something about the way he described the effect that this 'teaching' had on him and "his entire staff"... anyway, thought you might be interested...

From Linda Warncke: "I've been thinking and praying some more in regard to Jabez book.  Looking closely at Galatians and Colossians there is a priority focus on the cross of Jesus Christ and what God accomplishes in His people through that way.  In Jesus' prayer in Matthew 6 (the Lord's Prayer) there is also the presence of our need for God's forgiveness.  In Jabez' prayer and the way it is being taught, there is no cross or need for one.

Got to thinking about what Jesus said in John 6 to some folks who were impressed by His feeding of the thousands:  In verse 28 they ask Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"  Verse 29 Jesus replies, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
The book The Prayer of Jabez, provides a subtle shift of emphasis away from a simple belief in and devotion to Jesus Christ the person, substituting an emphasis on how "we may work the works of God."  It is very generic and without the cross "enlarged ministry" is lacking God's own message.

One of the winnowing forks of the end times is that many will turn away from the love of the truth and turn aside to fables and supernatural experiences.  There is a need for testing the spirits.  

Thank you, Linda, for mentioning the cross. One of my favorite Scriptures is Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me...." Somehow the essence of the exchanged life (through the cross, He takes my failing life and fills me with His victorious life) is missing in both of Wilkinson's popular books.  

From Jeff: I happen to notice something about the prayer of Jabez recently. I am on the mailing list for Vanguard University (in Costa Mesa, an Assembly of God college---years ago I took a couple classes there). In their mailer they were using the Jabez prayer as a way to get prayers for the University and to raise funds. I was very disappointed to see that, as I agree with your take on the prayer. I wonder just how many Christians colleges, churches and ministries are embracing this?

Thank you, Jeff, for being so observant. You bring an important reminder to pray for our Christian schools and colleges. See The Global Church.

From Don M. Certainly, in a time where freedoms are being lost and concensus thinking has swept america like a flood, the last thing the Church needs is any warning or admonition about the sudden momentous interest in a book chronicling the "Prayer of Jabez".

As beleivers, we are to pray, and that without ceasing, though we fail to do so more often than we care to admit.Certainly, a book calling people to pray ...could never nor should never be subjected to the klieg lights of Biblical examination...
So goes the mantra from so many within the Body of Christ....who seem to "want" to beleive that there is little reason for concern about a book promoting prayer...but then, is that what the book is promoting ?
The book is a mix of some good theology on God's Blessings and His Nature, but, the foreword of the book, and in several sections of the book, the Prayer of Jabez is most definately morphed into something that should give all beleivers great concern and reflection.
God is desirous of Prayer..and Prayer is our priviledge as children of the Father through Jesus Christ... God answers Prayer, and God Blesses ...and God says NO, and God says WAIT.... The point being..." GOD " does these things ....we do not, nor can we apply a series of previously prayed prayers, and then "expect" God to answer us in the same manner as He "chose sovereignly" to answer Jabez.
This is no small point.... The foreword of the book makes it plain that God always answers this daring prayer...and asks later for the reader to commit to praying Jabez' prayer VERBATIM for a period of not less than 30 days. The author makes it plain that miracles are just the other side of our grasping this "universal principle".
I for one, am not surprised to see these kinds of books out. I have been discerning for a significant amount of time now...a "devaluation of Gods Sovereignty, and an ELEVATION of "mans" abilities to "manipulate GOD". This is not only Unbiblical, it is fraught with error, vanity, and it takes away from God's Glory...and elevates the words spoken by a previously unnoticed beleiver named Jabez.
Jabez got his prayer answered, yes....but...and this is the key.... it was GOD..and GOD alone....who Himself Willed to Honour Jabez Prayer!!! was not the "specific words" Jabez prayed, how he said them, spelled them, or thought about them while praying them..
The moment we are led to beleive that we all have been missing something by not looking for a hidden technique or specific language to be prayed and for a specific amount of time, we are no longer trusting God, but are actually becoming little sorcerers, who have been deluded into thinking God MUST answer our prayers and WILL do so, and always FAVORABLY...just because we finally got the RECIPE right.
God is the searcher of the intent of the heart, and He knows what we need before we even ask. God desires us to pray anyway as loving submission and Obedience to Him. The Holy Spirit is the intercessor for us when we pray ..with groanings which cannot be uttered.
With that knowledge and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, I am thankful that Jabez got his prayer answered by our Great God ...but I beleive Jabez would be dismayed to see how his prayer is being marketed and sold as the "hidden keys" to success.
The most dangerous lie is not the one that is so vile and evil that everyone notices it, the most dangerous lies are those which contain 98% edible ingredients, and speak our lingo.
Gods Glory and His Honor and His WILL are paramount to me as a beleiver, and I beleive that the Prayer of Jabez subtly puts man in the drivers seat and characterizes God as one whom we can manipulate for OUR WILL..
Finally, the book asks its readers to keep a journal around to keep track of all the little and not so little miracles that happen and ...listen to this... tells the reader that they should give credit then to the Prayer of Jabez!!!!!!
I do not give honour for answered prayer to any saint dead or alive...nor to a saints previously prayed words, nor to a 21st century authors notion that God alone shouldnt get all the GLORY..and I mean ALL of it.
God doesnt share His Glory with any man, even with MR. Jabez. Mr Jabez was Blessed beacuse God, in His Majesty , Power and Omnipotent Power ....chose to do so...and granted Mr. Jabez request.  I can learn from Jabez simply that God is a Loving God , and GOD wants me to know that by evidence of Scripture GOD has the power to answer prayer in any fashion, and at any time, and for anyone as GOD deems fit. See a pattern ?  ITS ALL ABOUT GOD !!! Not us !!!
Beware the trendy end times deification of man and so called Universal principles of success...they  ultimately have the impact of DEVALUING  GOD, and HIS SOVEREIGNTY..and that should be enough reason for any child of God to warn others of this subtle yet dangerous mix of Error and Truth.

From J. Morgan Drake:  **SIGH**  Thank you for posting the article on this obscure prayer and what is being done with it today. I confess, I have not read the book, and have only read this article, but over the years I have come to trust what I find on your site (And would tell you immediately if I found something objectionable :O) ), and knew in my spirit as I read this article that what it said was correct.

Unfortunately, I have two dear friends, a married couple, who love the Lord, but are caught up in so many thiings NOT of God, ie., the "ho/crunch-bunch" (those who bend over all the time, shouting "HO!!" as if it were something spiritual and of the Lord), Cerrello, Hinn, Joyner, the gold dust/teeth "miracles", etc. Now they have read this book on Jabez and think it is the way to go. I talked to the wife about this and sent your web address for this article to them, but they do not understand. Guess as a last resort I will need to read the book, make notes, and see what the Lord gives me in speaking with them.

What next? I wish I knew.

From Marilynn: Our church, _____ (Baptist - they dropped the Baptist a few years ago) Church in ____, Texas is hosting a BreakThru 2001 Conference July 26-30. Guess who is the guest speaker? Dr. Bruce Wilkinson. He will be speaking Saturday in a seminar from 9:00AM to 4:00PM entitled Vision of a Leader (for Pastors and Business Leaders). Here is an excerpt:


"Have you found your vision as a leader? This study will help you do just that. You'll explore the source of your vision, the power for it, the proof of it, and the testing you can expect. You'll experience refreshment and revival in your spiritual life as this study leads you through the steps of confession and cleansing needed for God to plant a new vision in your life. 

And you'll learn what to do when you experience the inevitable disquieting ideas and doubts about your dream. Everyone is called to be a leader in some capacity, but you cannot be truly successful without God's vision in your heart."

In all of the brochures, there is heavy reference that if you are not a pastor or business people you may not attend. Yet, in the statement above it says everyone is called to be a leader. It is my experience that I find that not everyone is called to be a leader. In fact, it is not the majority. I have many concerns with this seminar. 

Also, Dr. Bruce Wilkinson will be speaking at all Sunday morning services (8:00, 9:30 & 11:00AM) entitled Break Thru to New Life, Experiencing Spiritual Break Thrus. On Sunday evening, 6:00PM-9:30PM and Monday evening, 7:00PM-9:30PM, he will be speaking on the Prayer of Jabez  (Break Thru to New Life). Here is an excerpt (promotional).

"Do you hunger for a positive, exciting change in your life? Are you eager to take your marriage, family life, personal growth, and walk with the Lord to the next level? If so, you are ready to Experience Spiritual Break Thrus! This compelling presentation using "Three chairs" will allow you to identify which of the three stages of spiritual growth you are in - Commitment, Compromise, or Conflict. Be prepared to experience profound renewals in your personal walk with God, marriage, and family."

By the way, Sunday AM is free, but all other times there is a fee of $15.00 per person per session.

In March, I was in our local Christian bookstore. There was big display on the checkout counters of the Prayer of Jabez. I first thought this was some Catholic/Episcopal writing on some special prayer to make every one feel good. I read the jingle "Discover how to release the miraculous power of God in your life! See what God will do for you when you put Jabez' prayer to work!" 

I did not purchase the book but I left the bookstore that day with an indelible impression of concern. I asked the store clerks about the book - they had nothing but raves about. Since then I have met many people and have talked to many of my friends who all attend various bible churches, Baptist churches, Presbyterian, etc.. and all are singing the praises of this book. When the upcoming seminar was announced at our church, I told my husband I wanted to attend all sessions because it appeared to me to contain some transformational thinking (ideology). I then went to Dr. Bruce Wilkinson's website. It was still to vague for me(theology). It promotes purchasing the latest books and working for their ministry.

In the last two weeks, there are more complete brochures with information for each seminar that I have picked up. It wasn't until tonight that I went on your website and read your expose on the Prayer of Jabez. I just finished reading it. You have confirmed my concerns. I now will purchase his book and be ready for the conference.

Thank you, Marilynn, for sharing our concerns and for sending this information. It helps us understand some of the changes in today's churches.  

From CC:  you have just said that the prayer of jabez (the book) is evil well you see my uncle who is a lutherain pastor came over and i showed him the site needless to say he thought it was crazy but he look at the objections to the prayer of jabez and you know what he told me YOU MUST HAVE THE SAME OBJECTIONS TO THE LORDS PRAYER for they are saying the same thing it helps you to enhance your prayer life and be clooser to god so i am taking a guess you don't like the lords prayer at a different way or don't like it anywho mail me back maybe you can clear things you.   god bless you,       

CC, did you really read my article? I didn't say that the Prayer of Jabez is evil. Quite the opposite. I showed appreciation for the habit of praying Scriptures back to God. I used the Lord's Prayer as an illustration of how Jesus wanted us to pray. My objection was to the promises made, not by God, but by the author and those who did the marketing of the book. Those promises were not Biblical. 

I appreciate your desire to be closer to God. That's my desire as well. In fact, we may not be as far apart in our hearts as you seem to think.

Jeff:   I happen to notice something about the prayer of Jabez recently. I am on the mailing list for Vanguard University (in Costa Mesa, an Assembly of God college---years ago I took a couple classes there). In their mailer they were using the Jabez prayer as a way to get prayers for the University and to raise funds. I was very disappointed to see that, as I agree with your take on the prayer. I wonder just how many Christians colleges, churches and ministries are embracing this?  


From Debbie: Several things came to my mind as I read through this article. First and foremost I want to refer to the paragraph quoted by George Barna, "One of the frightening things that we find in our research all the time is that even among the tens of millions of born again Christians, about half of them would say that when it comes to Christianity they are not absolutely committed to the faith,…we've made it too easy to be part of the Christian church. I think that there is very little sense of privilege and awe and responsibility that comes along in our culture with the notion of being considered a disciple of Christ. It is like, "Hey, I got my salvation taken care of, I've got my membership card at my church. Not let me go to the country club and do my thing." The problem is that Christianity is not just about being a church member. It is about consistently trying to become more like Christ. It is about life transformation.

This is a true statement and I believe that Bruce Wilkinson is writing to those people who are looking to be more like Jesus every day. As I look at The Prayer of Jabez I see a man asking the "God of Isreal" to bless him. First of all Jabez is praying to "the God", his God. He has not just gotten his ticket etc. but is truly wanting to have a more consistent life and become more like Christ. I looked in my Bible program and there were so many verses having to do with blessings that I could not begin to list them all but here are 3---Psalm 23:1, Psalm 27:14 and Psalm 29:11. Blessings are promised by God for His people all through scripture.

All your points are good, Debbie. My concern is that the book is popular among thousands if not millions of people who do not take God's Word as seriously as you do. As said in the beginning of the article, "Millions have joined his quest. Many have testified to miraculous answers which demonstrate God's love, mercy and intervention on behalf of those who seek Him. But these amazing interventions and anecdotal stories don't prove that God "always answers" this specific prayer. Nor do they verify that this Old Testament prayer by itself "contains the key" to extraordinary favor with God.

The main problem, as I see it, is the marketing strategy of suggesting that these particular words will bring greater response from God than all other prayers. But, all the more, I want to show appreciation for all who pray these words with faith in God, not in a formula.

The Bible does emphasize God's blessings throughout Scriptures. He wants to make sure that we know that He will provide everything we need to walk victoriously with Him each day. My concern is that unbiblical promises mislead people and prompt them to believe that God has chosen one particular prayer out of the Bible to give us as a formula prayer which will always bring the blessing we seek. 

God blessings cannot be invoked by a set of words.  The New Testament lists all kinds of reasons for why God may not pour out His blessings one someone who sincerely prays to Him -- no matter what words are spoken. I listed some of those conditions in the article, here are three more: 

"Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?" James 4:4

"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." 1 Pet 3:7

"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." Mark 11:25-26

I am not trying to discourage anyone for seeking God whichever way He leads. I am simply concerned about the promises made by Wilkinson concerning the power of these particular words to bypass all other Scriptures dealing with prayer and blessings. For example, read the beatitudes (Matt 5). There we see that His blessings come to those who follow His ways and walk by His life of mercy, righteousness and peace.  

It was mentioned that this prayer seems to be in the category of the "vain repetitions". I would ask you to consider the many "liberal" churches (and others) over the years that have had the congregation pray the Lord's prayer every week. Some of those people are sincere believers but most of them are doing no more with the Lord's Prayer that using "vain repetitions". Does that mean that we should not use the Lord's Prayer often as it might become a prayer of vain repetitions? God does give us the Lord's Prayer as a model but He also gives us many prayers in the book of Psalms and they have been a wonderful help and comfort to me on many occasions. There is a wonderful prayer I have used many times in Colossions 1:9-14. Also one in Ephesians 3:14-19. I suppose I could have written a book about these and told people that if they prayed them that wonderful and exciting things would happen. It is true that if we are truly born again and desiring a Christ-like walk that we will see exciting things happen when we pray God's word back to Him.

I appreciate your insights, Debbie, and have often prayed the same prayers. The second year I was a Christian, I prayed Col 1:9-14 every morning. I so longed to live by all His wisdom and love. I don't equate "vain repetition" with the kinds of persistent prayer that is part of seeking Him and His presence each day. I believe He is pleased when we use His words from Scripture -- whether the Lord's Prayer, the 23rd Psalm or the ones you listed -- each day.

Instead, I am concerned about the kind of rote recitation I hear people use when putting on the The Armor of God -- just speaking words without a Biblical understanding of what each part means with respect to our relationship with Him.  Apart from His life -- and a growing understanding of the conditions shown us throughout the Bible for walking in His righteousness -- the words of Jabez prayer can easily become a recitation based on faith in a formula rather than in the sovereign God who has all the answers we need.  Does that make sense?   

To continue with The Prayer of Jabez: The second part tells us that we should ask God to enlarge our territory. There is a wonderful passage in Gods' word that tells us that we should "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. As I go about my day, I love to ask God to enlarge my territory as that means I will have a wider impact for Him as He opens up areas of ministry for me through out my day.

Debbie, I so appreciate your heart. Keep in mind that I started the article with a comment about the blessing of praying His Word. The rest of the letter was directed to those who might be tempted to trust the words rather than God Himself. But you seem to know God well enough to avoid such a path. May He truly bless you as you walk with Him each day.

Finishing the above letter from Debbie Jordan: The next part of the prayer asks for God to keep us from evil and evil from us. Scripture tells me that Jesus prays to the Father that we might be kept from the evil one. Also, you mention the Lord's Prayer in the article and in that prayer we are told that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death that we need not fear evil. It also asks God to "deliver us from evil". He also talks a lot about blessing us in the first part of the psalm. 

Your also mention putting on the armor of God-I heard a message in 1980 called "Dressing for the Battle" by Charles Stanley. I began right then to put on my armor every morning. I did not put it on because I was reminding God that it was there but re-affirming to myself that I was ready to meet the day and all that it held. It has never become a ritual although I do see how it could for some people. I have never expected "magic" to happen when I put it on and realized that if things get passed the armor then God allows them in my life to help me grow more and learn more of Him. 

Any of these things you have mentioned could become a stumbling block in the path of a new believer or one who is not saved at all, but I don't believe that we should throw them all out just because there are some people who will get way off track. They will do that anyway whether it is a prayer from the Bible or getting caught up in the angel stuff that is around all over the place, or combining Christianity with the New Age Movement or a myriad of other things.

In the last part of the Prayer of Jabez we asks God that we will not cause pain and I take that to mean to God and to others. We cause pain by our sin and we know that we are to repent of our sin on a consistent basis and that will keep us from hurting God and others. All in all, this is a Godly prayer. The fact that you feel some people will take is as a magic formula or will expect miraculous things to happen on a daily basis is to put too much blame on the prayer and not enough on us silly human beings. We will grab at any "gold ring" we can reach and expect fantastic things to happen all the time.

I don't put any "blame on the prayer" at all, Debbie. As I said earlier, my concern is that the book makes promises that neither God nor these Scriptures promise. 

If we are "real" in our relationship with the Lord we will know that the way to "blessing" sometimes leads us through dark times and difficulties. We will not expect our life to be perfect, but look forward to the things we will learn through these things. The song "In His Time" comes to my mind often as I go through hard times. Those hard times have been the vehicle to bring about wonderful blessing in my life as I seek to become more like Jesus. So, as I look at this prayer I see just another wonderful opportunity to grow and learn more about the God I serve. I know many will take it the wrong way and expect magic to happen but that will happen with many of the books that are out there. We can't stop telling great lessons that God has taught us in fear of the fact that some "shallow believers" or "unsaved people" will not be happy with the results. God's word and the prayers are for those who love God and are called according to His purpose and we will look at this prayer in the way it is meant. For all those who expect magic-those are some of the "enlarged territory" that God gives us to pray about and witness to. Thanks you for your time. 

He has surely blessed you with much wisdom and love for Him, Debbie. But when you read the statistics on Biblical literacy and commitment in today's church, you can see that you are an exception to the norm. (See Statistics for the Changing Church) To offer false promises and "cheap grace" to the masses that are hungry for simple answers and quick blessings will only speed the transformation of the church from its Biblical foundation to the kind of "positive thinking" that -- like leaven -- is corrupting both churches and the new church management systems. See Global Church

P.S. I had never heard of your ministry but my daughter had some books from the radio station where her husband works (Christian Radio) and one of them (A Twist of Faith) is written by you and I will look forward to reading it. I have done a lot of study in the area of deception, cults, Masonic Lodge and areas like that so I am sure I will like your book (even though I don't totally agree with your ideas on the Prayer of Jabez.) I feel strongly that we should be coming from the direction of Christ Esteem and not self-esteem.

Thank you, Debbie. I believe we are of one heart in spite of our different views on this issue. It seems to me that you and I both want more than anything to walk in intimate personal fellowship with our our wonderful Lord, following and serving Him always.   

From Linda Warncke: "Joined a Bible study group a couple of months ago. Good study--attributes of God-- good prayer times, too. Now we are surveying Wilkinson's book Praryer of Jabez. I have questions. Whenever something is promoted as "the answer" with such enthusiasm and is so widely popular, I begin to ask," what's up?" Authentically Jesus Christ is never so popular. So what is this? I am getting "caution" checks in my spirit.

Jabez' prayer, by itself, seems to correlate with "The Lord's Prayer". However, the author teaches that we are to seek God's determination as to the "blessing", but then illustrates responses to his teaching about Jabez' prayer with examples of students praying specific requests and getting answers according to what they asked (but without revealing what was the result of God's ministry in the objects prayed for). This has the attraction of "power-praying", as though the author is saying "dependence on God" but illustrating "dictating to God".

I have learned that error is seldom in the presentation of truth, but most often in the application. I am trying to comprehend why I find this Jabez Prayer powerful, but have no peace in accepting the way it is being presented as a "secret" and and answer to the "mystery of the Christian life" that Christians have "missed". This causes me to search and pray to see if there is a place of divergence from the Word of God. 

In the old testament, if a teacher taught truth but led to a different "god", he was not from the True God and not to be listened to. Also if a teacher blended the truth of God's Word with anything that was error or from the mind of man, that person was a false teacher. God's truth is not blended, but always pure. In this regard, I find the author's speculative scenarios about Jabez and assumptions of "what Jabez would say..." a mixture of fiction with some verses taken out of God's word in order to rationalize a doctrine that focuses on experience rather than honest scholarship.

We are to test the spirits to see if they are from God. The first thing I find myself asking is what Paul asks in Colossians 2--"Is it Christ?" Is this what Jesus and the apostles taught? If not, why should I give it more weight than what they clearly taught? If so, where else in Scripture is it clearly taught?

Wilkinson's position seems to be that "It works!" After hearing him read his book aloud on audio tape, it is evident that he gives more credit to the Lord than the book did by changing some of the author's expressions. The question remains, does the fact that "it works!" become the test of the spirit?

Another question is how a genuine thing might be misused as a magical formula by those who do not otherwise seek Christ. I have been told by a pastor I deeply respect that the Lord will "sort it out". I believe that 2 Thes. 2:10-12 gives some encouragement that those who love and believe the truth will have some protection by the Lord in regard to delusion and deceiving influences. The key is to abide in the Lord and in His Word, seeking Him in all things.

I don't want to dismiss Wilkinson out-of-hand, but neither do I want to see a great wind of doctrine fabricated on some obscure verses as though they meant more than all the other teaching of Christ and Scripture combined.

Those who love the Lord would rejoice to see a genuine revival in the land and in the churches--a return to Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth. What has been the effect in the people and places who are praying this way? What should we be looking for? Is there a fellowship with Jesus Christ, are they walking in the light, abiding in the Word of God, loving brothers in Christ, acknowledging the Father and the Son? Whose glory do they seek? What is evident in the lives of the Jabez-prayers? We need the Lord's help and discernment here and that means we need to go to Him, personally, and seek His face and His sure direction. Jesus taught us how to pray (Matt.6) and Paul gives us a terrific example of what to ask (Eph.3). I am asking the Lord to sort it out.

Thank you, Linda, for your wise caution and good questions. I appreciate your insight. 

From Jacob:  I have read the book "Prayer of Jabez" and I was wondering if you could  summarize your article and concerns because I am not quite sure I understand. My only problem would be that people would use it as a  mantra, but, used as a sincere prayer from a born-again bible believing  Christian, I see no conflict. Rather, I have seen my life blessed and changed as I have prayed it. Just wondering...

Your brother in Christ,  Jake

While I believe He would prefer the Lord's Prayer as an outline for daily prayer (for the reasons I gave in the article), I don't see a problem with praying the words of any prayer in the Bible as long as it doesn't become a rote recitation -- and as long as the focus is on our true and sovereign God. When prayed by a Christian who knows and loves Him, it will be heard and answered according to His wise and loving plan for that person's life. That's why I included the following statements in the first part of the article. I must not have emphasized that enough.

"...our Lord delights in the prayers of His saints -- all the daily thanks, praises and petitions that turn our hearts to Him in faith, worship and surrender. Using Bible verses as a basis for prayer and worship is a wonderful habit. Why be concerned? 

"Because this book -- not Jabez' prayer -- promises rewards from God that God doesn't promise in the Bible. While author Bruce Wilkinson enriches the meaning of Jabez' prayer in the rest of his book, the first part (many readers go no further) seems to put the book into the unbiblical realm of the "name it claim it" movement. Consider the opening words...."

As I state in the second paragraph, the problem is not that Christians use the words of the Bible to pray to our God whom they follow. I'm concerned about the promises made by the author and marketing personnel. When people who don't understand Christianity are persuaded to read  the book and recite the words, they expect answers from a God they don't really know. This follows the pattern of Buddhism and other religions that attribute special power to the words in a prayer or mantra. [See Dalai Lama Celebrating the Medicine Buddha]. They, too, report positive answers from their various deities who supposedly respond to their formula prayers.

Even Christians can be deceived by the author's promise that this particular prayer -- repeated each day while the book is reread each week -- will move God's hand in a special way. Human nature has always sought that kind of of spiritual power and influence. Such a suggestion alone can cause people to shift from thinking Biblically (based on truth) to thinking dialectically (based on suggestions, group consensus, and social relationships). That would affect how they understand God and His Word.  Remember Psalm 50:21.

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