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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding Perspectives of Faith and Prayer
As much as the Bible teaches me, I find that I learn even more by hearing about the interpretations that others make of the Bible. Those interpretations are most beneficial when they include witnessing one's own experiences. Bruce Wilkinson has provided us with many soulful insights from 30 years of reciting a little-noticed prayer in this inspiring book.
One reason...
Published on 10 May 2004 by Donald Mitchell

versus
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak but appealing
While always a good thing to be encouraging prayer, there are some disquieting elements in the book, not least the suggestion that you read it every few weeks to gain more spiritual insights. It's really not that big a book...
Also, I am concerned by the superficial degree of biblical interpretation. Yes, jabez prayed a prayer that God answered. But Jabez was also...
Published on 7 Mar 2002 by Puritan


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding Perspectives of Faith and Prayer, 10 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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As much as the Bible teaches me, I find that I learn even more by hearing about the interpretations that others make of the Bible. Those interpretations are most beneficial when they include witnessing one's own experiences. Bruce Wilkinson has provided us with many soulful insights from 30 years of reciting a little-noticed prayer in this inspiring book.
One reason that it is nice to hear what others say about the Bible is that some of them read Hebrew, which I do not. Knowing what the original text said should provide more clues to its precise meaning. Mr. Wilkinson has provided many insights from the Hebrew texts to help us understand what the translations mean.
The Prayer of Jabez is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10 following a brief introduction of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9. This text is in the middle of a long list of about 500 Hebrew names beginning with Adam in providing a geneology. The casual Bible reader might never notice this material.
Since there is so little text, the plain meaning of what is found here can certainly be confusing. "Jabez" means "pain" in Hebrew. Jabez was named this by his mother "Because I bore him in pain." Since almost all babies bring pain, it is hard to know exactly what was different about Jabez, if anything.
Jabez is remembered for having his prayer answered. The prayer was:
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"
Mr. Wilkinson provides several perspectives on this prayer that added much to my understanding of the Scripture. First, Mr. Wilkinson interprets this as meaning that the person praying is asking to play a bigger role in achieving God's purposes. That was a new thought for me. I tend to feel that each of us is kept pretty busy trying to do God's will in whatever roles we already have. How can we do more? Obviously, only with God's help. By taking on even larger roles, we probably move closer to a state of humility by knowing that we cannot possibly succeed without Divine guidance and assistance. So what seems like a prideful thing actually turns out to be the opposite. What is your reaction to that?
Second, I was startled a few years ago to hear a group of rabbis and ministers talk about how the traditional concept of the moral life was to never be tempted. I feel tempted all of the time, and overcome temptations only after sincere struggles. Mr. Wilkinson points out that the best way to avoid evil is not to be tempted in the first place. "Without temptation, we will not sin." So this text encouraged me to ask even more for being kept away from evil. Naturally, the Lord's Prayer does that, but this important point had been partially lost on me until I read this book.
Beyond those Biblical insights, I also learned from Mr. Wilkinson's experiences. He takes on big tasks, uses the Jabez prayer, and keeps track of how things work out. I, too, believe in the power of prayer. It had never occurred to me to keep a journal about my experiences with prayer. I am sure that there is much to be learned.
My own interpretation of the book and the prayer is that it is just another example of God's listening to and answering our prayers. So I felt encouraged to pray, rather than to use only this specific prayer. I did find myself revising some prayers that I am fond of to incorporate elements of the Jabez prayer.
Mr. Wilkinson also sets a good example that I intend to follow. He walks up to strangers and says, "How can I help you?" Now, I do that with people who call me on the telephone and people I work with. It had never occurred to me to do so with strangers, but it is probably more helpful with strangers. I look forward to the experiences I will have as a result.
If you are like me, it will be hard to tell where Biblical interpretation ends and witnessing begins in this book. I'm not sure it's all that important to draw a line between them. The key thing is to feel closer to God and God's wisdom and love. I certainly did after reading The Prayer of Jabez. I pray that you will too!
What else can you pray for that may serve God's purposes in more ways that you have not considered before?
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak but appealing, 7 Mar 2002
By 
Puritan (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
While always a good thing to be encouraging prayer, there are some disquieting elements in the book, not least the suggestion that you read it every few weeks to gain more spiritual insights. It's really not that big a book...
Also, I am concerned by the superficial degree of biblical interpretation. Yes, jabez prayed a prayer that God answered. But Jabez was also honourable in God's sight...read the whole of Chronicles and begin to understand the nature of covenant, and this book might be useful.
But if you're not looking at it from the perspective of the new testament, you can pray a formula till the cows come home. It's knowing Jesus that matters...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding Perspectives of Faith and Prayer, 24 July 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
As much as the Bible teaches me, I find that I learn even more by hearing about the interpretations that others make of the Bible. Those interpretations are most beneficial when they include witnessing one's own experiences. Bruce Wilkinson has provided us with many soulful insights from 30 years of reciting a little-noticed prayer in this inspiring book.
One reason that it is nice to hear what others say about the Bible is that some of them read Hebrew, which I do not. Knowing what the original text said should provide more clues to its precise meaning. Mr. Wilkinson has provided many insights from the Hebrew texts to help us understand what the translations mean.
The Prayer of Jabez is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10 following a brief introduction of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9. This text is in the middle of a long list of about 500 Hebrew names beginning with Adam in providing a geneology. The casual Bible reader might never notice this material.
Since there is so little text, the plain meaning of what is found here can certainly be confusing. "Jabez" means "pain" in Hebrew. Jabez was named this by his mother bore him in pain. Since almost all babies bring pain, it is hard to know exactly what was different about Jabez, if anything.
Jabez is remembered for having his prayer answered. The prayer was:
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"
Mr. Wilkinson provides several perspectives on this prayer that added much to my understanding of the Scripture. First, Mr. Wilkinson interprets this as meaning that the person praying is asking to play a bigger role in achieving God's purposes. That was a new thought for me. I tend to feel that each of us is kept pretty busy trying to do God's will in whatever roles we already have. How can we do more? Obviously, only with God's help. By taking on even larger roles, we probably move closer to a state of humility by knowing that we cannot possibly succeed without Divine guidance and assistance. So what seems like a prideful thing actually turns out to be the opposite. What is your reaction to that?
Second, I was startled a few years ago to hear a group of rabbis and ministers talk about how the traditional concept of the moral life was to never be tempted. I feel tempted all of the time, and overcome temptations only after sincere struggles. Mr. Wilkinson points out that the best way to avoid evil is not to be tempted in the first place. "Without temptation, we will not sin." So this text encouraged me to ask even more for being kept away from evil. Naturally, the Lord's Prayer does that, but this important point had been partially lost on me until I read this book.
Beyond those Biblical insights, I also learned from Mr. Wilkinson's experiences. He takes on big tasks, uses the Jabez prayer, and keeps track of how things work out. I, too, believe in the power of prayer. It had never occurred to me to keep a journal about my experiences with prayer. I am sure that there is much to be learned.
My own interpretation of the book and the prayer is that it is just another example of God's listening to and answering our prayers. So I felt encouraged to pray, rather than to use only this specific prayer. I did find myself revising some prayers that I am fond of to incorporate elements of the Jabez prayer.
Mr. Wilkinson also sets a good example that I intend to follow. He walks up to strangers and says, "How can I help you?" Now, I do that with people who call me on the telephone and people I work with. It had never occurred to me to do so with strangers, but it is probably more helpful with strangers. I look forward to the experiences I will have as a result.
If you are like me, it will be hard to tell where Biblical interpretation ends and witnessing begins in this book. I'm not sure it's all that important to draw a line between them. The key thing is to feel closer to God and God's wisdom and love. I certainly did after reading The Prayer of Jabez. I pray that you will too!
What else can you pray for that may serve God's purposes in more ways that you have not considered before?
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing and a must read., 19 Sep 2001
By A Customer
The prayer of Jabez opened my eyes to how simple it is for us to ask of God that which he has already ordained us. I encourage everyone to read this book repeatedly and live by this very simple concept.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing book, 25 Dec 2009
By 
G. Pearson (UK) - See all my reviews
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Such a wonderful book that focuses on a prayer that still applies today. If you're a woman or a man of faith - doesn't matter where you stand, grab this book and it's message and speak it out and your life will change for the better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prayer is not a magic spell, 24 Feb 2006
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
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There has been a lot of excitement over the book `The Prayer of Jabez', by Bruce Wilkinson. I must confess to you, my sister and brother readers, that I am not one who is excited about this book, on the whole. It presents difficulties for me theologically and methodologically. I will probably have legions of people decrying my treatment of the book. There are redeeming qualities about the book, to be sure, but overall it gives me great unease. Permit me to tell you why.
Before the reader even gets past the preface, there are problems here. Is Wilkinson saying there are prayers that God doesn't answer? Is Wilkinson saying that, by following the form of the prayer of Jabez, you will get whatever you ask for? Perhaps he would retreat to the security of the answer that `God sometimes says "no" to our requests in prayer.' If that is true, then this prayer becomes no different in that respect than any other prayer. The prayer of Jabez is not a magical incantation to force God to make or do whatever it is one asks of God.
Now, one of the benefits of a book like `The Prayer of Jabez' is that it does, in fact, encourage people to pray. It brings God back into the lives of people, inside and outside of the church, who have somehow put God aside. It reorients the life and redirects attention toward something more worthy. To that extent, it is worthwhile. Most things that do this are worthwhile.
`The Prayer of Jabez' also helps to demonstrate another point about prayer - it need not be long, drawn-out or complex. Prayer can be simple. In fact, in my life some of the most effective prayers have been even simpler than the four-part prayer of Jabez. What having a prayer in parts does do is to highlight a process, a development, a continuing progression of prayer that for many people is a new idea. So again, there is something worthwhile here.
But one also has to confront, early on in the text, that the prayer of Jabez is effective because Jabez was an honourable and worthy man. The passage from the book of Chronicles that Wilkinson highlights begins with 'Now Jabez was more honourable than his brothers'. This sets up a works-righteousness model that leads the reader/pray-er to think that, unless a great deal of effort is made toward being worthy, there will be no efficacy of the prayer. Aren't the prayers of the unworthy heard by God? Who among us is worthy?
True, Wilkinson makes some strives to overcome this danger later in the book, but this rather gets lost in the shuffle for most readers. More attention needs to be devoted to the freely-given grace of God, that is available regardless of worthiness, regardless of our status, and regardless of our form of prayer.
My concern for the text is that it seems a plea for selfishness, and it appeals to many people at that level. While Wilkinson does state that this increase should be sought and then used for the furtherance of the will of God, not enough attention is devoted to this point. Stockbrokers will see that it is okay to ask for higher values. People will view it as okay to ask for more of whatever it is they want. And this book gives example after example of instances where this prayer did precisely that.
It is a wonder that there are no examples where the prayer of Jabez didn't work. There are lots of minor examples and several major examples of success, but one must forgive my insistence on some research methodology here - where are the counterbalancing examples?
The prayer of Jabez worries me in that is seems different in character and tone to the prayer I consider to be far more central - the Lord's Prayer. In this prayer, we are not asking God to increase our territory and give us what we want. We are asking to be given what we need. Particularly in the English translations (but also many other languages), the Lord's Prayer is immediately a common prayer, a communal prayer, -- the use of the word our at the outset makes it one that concerns us all, and the petitions continue to include the community - give us today our daily bread. The prayer of Jabez, by contrast, is individual. No wonder it appeals to those in Western society who hold the good of the individual as sacrosanct.
Ultimately, it is the assumption of the magical quality of the prayer of Jabez that makes me uneasy. It is as if you can conjure up whatever you want with a simple formula. The book starts on this theme and ends on this theme. That is what most who talk about the book seem to carry away. What happens if you don't get your wish? Does that mean your faith isn't strong enough? Does that mean you aren't worthy enough? Does that mean God doesn't care about you? These are important questions that get lost in the shuffle as readers around the world get starry-eyed with excitement that finally there's a way to make God do what we want God to do.
I hope that those who have a good experience with the prayer of Jabez will look to the God of grace rather than the magic spell. I hope that those who do not have a good experience with the prayer of Jabez will not feel abandoned by, and thus in turn abandon, God and prayer.
To the extent that this book renews the importance of prayer and consideration of God in one's daily life, it is worthwhile. However, it suffers serious flaws which, in my opinion, make is a dangerous book for the inexperienced, who seem to be the primary audience.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Chrisitan must read this, 5 Sep 2001
By A Customer
I was given this book a day ago, and already have passed it on to my wife and father. it is an excellent book. The principles in it are simple but the effects are amazing. Every Chrisitan should take a couple of hours to read this book.Then try the prayer!
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" book for any Christian, 8 Aug 2001
By 
T. G. King "Soundmangraham" (Ayr, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This is a fantastic book, I had heard teaching on the Prayer of Jabez previously and had had the book recommended to me (along with the rest of our Church) but was a bit sceptical about where an author could find enough material to write a book on two short Bible verses.
This book is easy to read and understand, and is a book which must be read over and over because familiarity with it will only help you to seek out the Blessings God has for you.
My first reading of this book has whetted my appetite to read more of Bruce Wilkinson's books and I certainly will be buying another of his books on the Prayer of Jabez.
This is a book I will have no problem in recommending to my friends and I have already done so
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful ! Istarted reading and couldn't stop., 1 May 2001
By A Customer
A very dear friend of mine gave the book to me. She is such a beautiful,spiritual person, I knew there would be a message in there. I never expected so much. That little, book changed the way I will look at my life for the rest of it. I'm telling all of my friends about it as fast as I can.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and Healing, 16 May 2001
By A Customer
This book reminds us who we are - blessed children of God. This small message contained in a prayer is a prayer everyone should share. This book highlights the main points in this prayer of Jabez to be blessed, kept from evil, expanded, etc... Where it places our attention collectively could literally heal the world.
I also recommend: What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living by Samuel Oliver. This book reveals how eternal/soulful our relationships are and speak to the need to challenge our beliefs about who we are in this world.
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