謙卑的禱告值得禱告

Jim Langley

西元2000時,我讀到一本很有能力的書:布魯斯.威金森博士的著作: 雅比斯的禱告。這本書深深影響了我禱告的方式。這本書基本上是根據列王記上4:9-10雅比斯的禱告中的兩句話,而這個人在聖經裡面再沒出現過第二次。雅比斯的禱告中第二句說到: 「甚願你賜福與我、擴張我的境界、常與我同在、保佑我不遭患難、不受艱苦。」

這篇禱告大約60個字,其中兩行提到雅比斯的母親生他甚是痛苦,他禱告神,神就應允他所求的。自從讀了這本書之後,我經常在每天的晨禱結束時,用這段禱詞來跟神述說我的渴望。以下是我的禱告:

神啊!求你祝福我超過我所求所想的-我知道自己的期待遠低於神要給我的,當然也沒人知道前面還有什麼在等著我。神在過去的幾年裡已經祝福了我,但像是許多是化妝成試練和痛苦的祝福。然而,隨著時間過去,我逐漸看到神如何藉著萬世都互相效力來叫我得益處,使我像祂計畫中的一樣強壯。在當中,我學習凡事信靠祂,祂也從沒讓我失望過。

擴張我的境界-神啊,為著你的榮耀擴大我能影響的領域-當我開始禱告時,我完全不知道神有什麼計畫。我相信這個禱告跟我的保險工作沒有什麼關係,但是過了一段時間,我發現這個禱告跟影響別人的生命有更大的關係。一開始我想我的工作只限於在自家的社區,然而藉著網路我的寫作卻能不費吹灰之力到達全世界。榮耀歸給神!

父啊!常與我同在。-對我來說,這是禱告中最直接的部分。神永遠與我同在,但我也希望祂知道我永遠也不想離開祂。我需要祂帶我走過不確定的人生中死蔭的幽谷。祂是我的力量、我的山寨、我的磐石以及我的救贖。

保佑我不遭患難-我能想像雅比斯禱告神使他自己以及別人不遭患難。因為邪惡環繞整個世代,而且許多都像是包裹著糖衣的誘餌,表面上看起來或是吃起來還不錯。但是章伯斯(Oswald Chambers)提醒我們,神要我們得到上好的福分不是次好的。如章伯斯所提到的,我也期望自己能獻上最高的尊崇給神。

無庸置疑的,神的確超過我所求所想的賜福給我。為著自己的榮耀,祂大大擴張了我的領域(我所能影響到的地區)。我能證明祂常與我同在。祂保守我和其他人不遭患難。

簡單來說,祂回應了我的禱告,祂也會回應你的禱告,只要你願意獻上一個像是雅比斯那樣簡單的禱告。求告祂,你會得到從神而來超過你所求所想的祝福!

回應與問題討論
在讀到這篇週一嗎哪之前,你熟悉雅比斯的禱告嗎?如果是,它對你有什麼意義? 你覺得做一個簡單的禱告,就像雅比斯的禱告一樣,對你來說是容易的嗎?分享你的看法。 當人求神祝福的時候,通常他們會求些什麼?你覺得自己會求事業或是專業上的成功、得到期望中的升遷或是更多的財富?分享你的看法。 你認為求神「擴張你的境界」(或譯:擴大你的領域)的意義是什麼?是否代表更多的生意、成立更大的公司或是在職場坐上更高的位置?或你覺得有其他的意義?分享你的看法。 註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:列王記上4:9-10; 箴言 10:22; 傳道書9:1a; John 16:24; 腓立比書1:19-20

A HUMBLE PRAYER WORTH PRAYING
By Jim Langley

In 2000 I read a powerful little book by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez. It has had a great impact on the way I have prayed ever since. The book is based on two lines dedicated to a man named Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, a man not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. The second verse in the passage states, “If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain."

Consisting of just over 60 words, the two-verse passage describes Jabez”s birth, his prayer, and God granting his request. Since reading the book, I often end my morning prayer-times with a customized version of the prayer that fits what I desire to convey to God every day. Here are the parts to my prayer:

"Lord, bless me beyond my expectations…" – I know that my expectations fall short of what God has planned for me. Certainly none of us know what lies ahead. God has blessed me over the years, but many of those blessings did not feel pleasant at the time since they took the form of trials and afflictions. With time, however, I was able to see how God was orchestrating events to strengthen me for what He had planned for me. I learned to trust Him in all things, and He certainly has never let me down.

"Expand my borders – my area of influence – for your glory Lord…" – As I began praying I had no idea what God had planned. I believed this part of the prayer had nothing to do with my insurance career. Over time I concluded it had more to do with being influential in the lives of others, but at first saw this as being limited to my community. These days I see how he has taken some of my writings and carried them around the world through the Internet without any of my doing. And it has been all for His glory!

"Keep your hand on me constantly, Father …" – For me, this is the most straightforward part of the prayer. God will never let me go, but I want Him to know I have no desire to leave Him. I need Him to take me through the depths of disappointment we all face with the uncertainty of life. He is my Strength, my Fortress, my Rock, and my Salvation.

And keep evil from me so I may not cause pain." – I imagine Jabez prayed for God to keep him from evil so he would not cause pain – in the lives of others and his own life. Evil is all around us. Much of the evil in the world has been sugar-coated so it may not look or taste as bad. But Oswald Chambers reminds us God wants and deserves our best – nothing less. My desire is to give my Lord and Savior "my utmost for His highest," as Chambers termed it.

Without question, God has truly blessed me beyond my expectations. He has greatly expanded my borders (my area of influence) for His glory. I can attest that He has kept His hand in mine continually. And He constantly keeps me from the Evil One to prevent me from causing pain for others or myself.

In a nutshell, He has answered my prayer and I am certain He will answer yours as well, if you only offer a simple, humble prayer as Jabez did. Ask and you will receive wonderful blessings beyond anything you could imagine, from God Almighty!

© 2015, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been an agent and chartered life underwriter (CLU) with New York Life since 1983 and an active member of CBMC of Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. since 1987.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Are you familiar with the so-called “Prayer of Jabez”? If so, what has that meant to you before reading this Monday Manna? Would you feel comfortable taking that simple prayer of Jabez and personalizing it for yourself, as Mr. Langley has done? Why or why not? When people pray for God”s blessings, what do you think they typically might be asking for? Do you think such a prayer would be about achieving business or professional success, or receiving a desired promotion, or making more money? Why or why not? What do you think it means to pray for God to “expand my borders” or “enlarge my territory,” as other translations express it? Does this – or should this – mean attracting more business, building a bigger company, or having greater status in the workplace? Or should this mean more than that? Explain your answer. If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10; Proverbs 10:22; Ecclesiastes 9:1a; John 16:24; Philippians 1:19-20

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