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From the Hardcover edition.
Little Man, Big Prayer
Sometimes life seems to unwind like an enormous brown ball of string. Every morning you roll out of bed, pick up the string where you dropped it the night before—and off you go. Today seems pretty much the same as yesterday. One more day, one more length of string—and that big brown ball justkeeps unwinding….
But some days aren’t like that at all. They don’t unwind like string; they land like a brick. One thing happens, and everything changes.
It could be…
• a phone call,
• a move to a new town,
• something someone says or does,
• a decision,
• an accident.
Whatever it is, that one thing changes your life, maybe for the better, maybe not. It’s like you turned a corner and walked smack into a world you’ve never seen before.
This book is about one thing—a little prayer that will change your life.
Sometimes I think of this prayer as an invisible revolution because it starts so deep inside you. You change what you know; then you change how you think and feel; then you change what you ask God for and what you expect. It all feels so mysterious and out of sight…but then one day—zap! You look around (“Hey, did a brick just land around here?”) and you realize your life has changed…and it’s a whole lot better!
If you’ve ever thought that your life should be about more than just unwinding another day’s worth of brown string, you’re ready to meet a man named Jabez (I pronounce that JAY-bez, but you can say it any way you like).
When Jabez was still trying to decide what kind of life he wanted, he looked at who he was. He didn’t like what he saw. He looked at what he had to work with and who his family was and what tomorrow might bring, and he didn’t like any of it. He felt like a nobody with no future. He probably could have described himself right then with words like boring, loser, or just plain stupid.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he did one thing. He prayed a simple prayer.
I want to tell you more about this man named Jabez and his prayer, but first I want to ask you something. Are you ready to do one thing today that could change your life from ordinary to extraordinary?
If so, keep reading. The Prayer of Jabez for Teens is going to show you what happens when young people decide to reach for an amazing life.
As it turns out, that’s exactly the kind of life God promises. Let me show you what I mean….
Asking for a Big Life
When I was five, I wanted to drive a fire truck. When I was seven,I wanted to be a cowboy. When I was ten, I wanted to play for the New York Yankees, or maybe be a mafia hit man. (Is this starting to sound familiar?) When I was fifteen, I wanted to be an Olympic high jumper.
But when I was twenty-six and about to finish college and grad school, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to be. Except for one thing—I wanted my life to count for God.
I remember those days very well. I remember feeling a little uncertain and a lot in the dark. Darlene, my wife, and I often prayed together about what would come next. What did God want for our lives?
One day I heard a speaker named Dr. Richard Seume ask this question: “Do you want a bigger vision for your life?”
Bigger? I asked myself. Well, maybe, but I’m already planning to serve God and live a good life. Isn’t that big enough?
Dr. Seume based his challenge on the shortest life story I had ever heard—only three sentences in the Old Testament. The biography in question belonged to a man named Jabez. The first thing the Bible says about Jabez is that he was “more honorable than his brothers” (1 Chronicles 4:9). Dr. Seume said that’s what we should want for our lives, too. Jabez wanted to be more and do more for God.
Prayer is an invisible revolution. It all feels so mysterious and out of sight… but then one day—zap!
I went home, stood in my kitchen, and stared out the window. Lord, I prayed, I think I want a life like that. I want to be more honorable for You. But questions kept tugging at my mind. What exactly did Jabez do to rise above the rest? And why did God answer his prayer?
I picked up my Bible and read verse 10—the prayer of Jabez. Something in his prayer would explain the mystery. It just had to. Think about it: Here was a guy who got into the history books because of what he prayed and what happened next. Standing in my kitchen, I read his prayer over and over, searching with all my heart for the future God might have for someone as ordinary as me.
The next morning I prayed Jabez’s prayer word for word.
And the next.
And the next.
Do you know what? Thirty years later, I haven’t stopped praying the prayer of Jabez, and God hasn’t stopped answering. If you were to ask me what sentence—other than my prayer for salvation— has changed my life the most, I would tell you that it was the prayer of a little-known man named Jabez.
Posted June 26, 2003
I will admit before I read this book I wasn't all that much of a christian. I mean I belived in God (or said I did) but never accepted him and prayed. But after I finished this the words 'god','church',and 'prayer' tasted soo good when I spoke of them. Now I'm starting to go to church more! I pray. And even quit my habbit of complaining and being rude and now am just a happier person! I recomend this to anyone who is looking for a BETTER LIFE or is wanting to ALLOW GOD TO GUIDE YOU but don't know how to do that? Read this book. It's a quick, life changing, and great book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2002
This book is so great! I loved it! It really opened my eyes up, because I needed some spiritual cleansing! It is great that they have one for teens, so anyone can read the one according to there age and understand what those few bible verses mean.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 21, 2002
Posted May 5, 2002
The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, opened my eyes to a totally differant way of seeing the relationship with God. I picked it up in the morning and was SOOO hooked I couldn't put it down until I finished it. I had to grab a pen and take notes. And, for those with finals and many exams, it isn't terribly long. But it is crammed full of experienced insight on what to pray to change your life. And what God needs your life to be to use you. It is very simple and the book explains every detail. For those who are feeling lost or keep falling (and by the grace of God are caught each time) here is a book that may help you get back on track and stay on track. It seemed to put my thoughts and sub-conscious thoughts on God into words so that I could understand things better. I highly recommend this book for struggling teens and those who feel they want to get to know God fully. Here is a great first step.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 26, 2001
Woah- i just finished it last night and it is an amazing book with so much insite into God that i really am filled with a renewed sense of love for God and an understanding i have never seen. Wow. It was just SO powerful!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 28, 2001
This book is exactly like the bestseller, The Prayer of Jabez. I noticed that a lot of my coworkers were reading The Prayer of Jabez. I also noticed they were much older. So I went searching for the book. Since I'm only 19 a lot of the things didn't really apply to me. However, when I read the teen version, it made perfect sense. It was if the author had said, 'In other words, for you teens, The Prayer of Jabez is so on and so forth'. It was really enjoyable. I encourage any teen who is having spiritual conflicts and problems to read this book. It is really helpful in so many ways.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2001
Teenagers often feel left out, like a nobody with no future. For that reason, the story of Jabez (whose mother named him 'pain') should be relevant and appealing. From this unpleasant beginning, Jabez came to receive many blessings from God. In this book, Dr. Wilkinson makes the case that if God is there for unpopular nobodies like Jabez, He must be there for all of us! Dr. Wilkinson has a nice manner for speaking to teenagers. He recalls his own thoughts and hopes during the teenage years. He also relates stories of how teenagers have made an enormous difference for God in assisting adults and other teens. Suddenly, you will feel like someone is talking to you who cares about you, as God does. 'This little book starts with everything we put in the original, bestselling The Prayer of Jabez . . . .' ' . . . [T]hen we ask the question: If God wanted to change the world with a teenager like you, how would He want you to pray?' The challenge also goes out in this form: 'Are you ready to do one thing that could change the rest of your life?' 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. Dr. Wilkinson has provided us with many soulful insights from 30 years of reciting a little-noticed Old Testament 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. Dr. Wilkinson has provided 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 to their mothers, it is hard to know exactly what was different about Jabez, if anything. In this book, there is a nice emphasis on the special problems a teenager would have if his name was Pain. 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!' Dr. 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. Dr. 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 bWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.