by: Rich Vaughan
Jabez’s second request in his prayer was to, “enlarge my territory”. This request is not really selfish either because Jabez is asking so that he can make a greater impact for the Lord. In many ways this should be a request every Christian and church should make. Bruce Wilkinson is the author of the book, “The Prayer of Jabez”. He recounts in his book a fascinating story of challenging a large Christian college in California during a speaking engagement to pray the prayer of Jabez every day for the year and to ask for more blessings and greater influence. He told the 2000-member student body, “look at the globe, pick an island, and take over the island for God” (Prayer of Jabez p. 33). Then he added, “You should ask God for Trinidad and a DC-10” (same book and page). Nothing happened at first but within a couple of months that college mounted a major mission project called “Operation Jabez”. Soon, 126 students and faculty signed up and flew to Trinidad for a summer of ministry. Through drama, construction, vacation Bible school, music, and visits they impacted that little island and impacted thousands of lives. The college president called Operation Jabez, “the single most significant student ministry venture in the college’s history”.
What about us? Don’t you think God wants us to enlarge our territory? Don’t you think Jesus wants us to carry his love and gospel outside our walls, Facebook, and Drive-In worship? I think God is always wanting to bless us and get us to move our boundary lines. Think of Abraham and his call to move (Genesis 12). When no one in that period of history would move away from everyone they knew to a land that God would “show him”, Abraham did and his territory and his blessings grew. Think of Moses taking on Pharaoh and Egypt and setting up one of the world’s greatest moments in the Exodus story. Think of the Disciples going out after the resurrection to countries far and wide to spread the gospel. Each one increased their territory and their blessings. This is our history, this is our story, this is who we are and can be! The prophet Zechariah reminded the Jewish people of this when they were returning home from exile to a destroyed and desolated land. The rebuilding task that lay before them was scary and depressing but Zechariah reminded them that they were not doing this alone. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit say the Lord of hosts” (4:6).
When we ask for our territories to increase we have to remember that our willingness and weakness plus God’s will and power equals our expanded territory. One of the often overlooked facts of our Bible and our own faith journey is that the Lord “ALWAYS INTERVENES WHEN YOU PUT HIS AGENDA BEFORE YOURS AND GO FOR IT!” In a time where church life and activities are somewhat different, in a time when we think our outreach is crippled, we need to remember who we worship and whose we are. The impact of COVID has gone on for a while now; but our Lord is bigger and if our faith is also bigger, we can make a major impact in our community and world by simply praying and believing. So ask for your blessings and ask for your increased territories, but be prepared because God is going to answer your prayer. Amen & Amen!