I continually encourage and remind you to pray scripture . . . but when you say things like that people take it the wrong way. There is nothing “magical” about praying scripture. It isn’t using magic words, like “Abracadabra, Bingo, It’s done.” That’s not at all what I have been saying.
Let me give you an example. Several years ago, Bruce Wilkinson wrote a book entitled, “The Prayer of Jabez.” Now I normally provide links to books I mention, but this is a book I don’t necessarily endorse. I realize that many of you may have read it and I apologize if you misunderstand what I am going to say about it, because for the most part, Wilkinson’s book is okay to read, I just don’t endorse it. Jabez’s story is indeed an inspiring story, and Wilkinson’s book tells the story well. However, it is greatly misunderstood.
You will find Jabez’s story in the fourth chapter of I Chronicles and it begins in the 9th verse:
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez (sorrow maker), saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.'”
Now I would hate a name like that too! I like my name: Nickolas! (meaning Victory or Power! That’s what I want to identify with!) but Jabez looked beyond the history of his birth and cried out to God, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” What an attitude! But then it says that: “God granted his request” (I Chronicles 4:10).
Regarding Wilkinson’s book, the editor wrote:
“It’s a timeless prayer that produces timely results! Bruce Wilkinson takes readers to 1 Chronicles 4:10 to discover how they can release God’s miraculous power and experience the blessings God longs to give each of us. The life of Jabez, one of the Bible’s most overlooked heroes of the faith, bursts from unbroken pages of genealogies in an audacious, fourpart prayer that brings him an extraordinary measure of divine favor, anointing, and protection. Readers who commit to offering the same prayer on a regular basis will find themselves extravagantly blessed by God, and agents of His miraculous power, in everyday life>”
It wasn’t the prayer that brought the results, it was Yahweh who answered the prayer! And, this is where my concern lies: you see, Jabez’s God didn’t answer the prayer Jabez prayed, He answered the desire of Jabez’s heart!
There is a fine distinction between the two. You are not going to have the same results by simply praying the “Prayer of Jabez.” The words have no magical power in them. You can repeat those words every morning when you first wake up, but they won’t bring the same results — and yes that is what Wilkinson’s book is saying will happen — unless they are truly breathed from the bottom of your heart — and even then, it is dependent on Yahweh’s Grace and Mercy!
Don’t pray Jabez’s prayer, unless it is from your own heart; unless you possess the attitude and desire and longing of Jabez. That is what our God honors, not chanting meaningless words you read in His book.
Recently someone suggested reading the traditional “Book of Prayers,” and that is a worthwhile endeavor — if they reflect what is in your heart. For years I used “Prayer’s that Availeth Much,” from Harrison House Publishing. Good prayers — again, if they are spoken from your heart. They can serve as great guides and teachings, but there is nothing magical in the prayers, themselves. Oh I hope you understand what I am trying to express.
As you read the Scripture and you find a story or a particular passage or Psalm that so reflects what is burning in your own heart, then use the words to form your own prayer.
Years ago, when I read the first two verses of Psalm 42, I wept. It so reflected what I was experiencing:
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
I was a new Christian and found myself praying those words every day:
“Father, just like a deer drinks from a creek; I want to drink from you — deep draughts of of your presence. I’m thirsty for experiencing your life manifested in my life. I desire for you to so consume me, that I no longer exist, but only you. I often sit and wonder Lord, “Will I ever make it — will I ever arrive and drink in Your presence?”
This is what I am hoping to inspire in you. I’m hoping you are able to take God’s Word and make it live BIG in your life!
Well Father, that is indeed what I am seeking. Your Wisdom, your Life, and as I search your Word, allow it to search my heart, help me find the words that reflect what is feeling. Then help me express those words in loving fellowship with you. Make my heart a work of art in your hands, help me to learn to express all the wonders and excitement I feel when I am in your presence. Just like Joshua, I will cry, “I will be strong and courageous. I will not be terrified, or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go!” (Joshua 1:9)
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)