Dream Giver & Prayer of Jabez
New May 22
From Jeff: I agree with your critique of the Dream Giver. It seems simply to be a variation of Schuler's emphasis on "self image." It's all about self and promoting self as opposed to dying to self. God seems to need to go through whatever one's passion is to get to us, as opposed to us passionately seeking God. His whole approach to this, is clearly out of step with the overall message of Scripture. Thank you for your ministry of exposing this to as many as will see it. I think it is excellent that since there is so much exposure out there for the Purpose Drive Church (and the Schuler and Wilkerson messages as well), that in your writings, and overall website, there is an alternative for Christians to look to and consider prayerfully. I would pray that Christians really pray about all of this, and use the Bible as their standard for how they want to judge all of this.
Personally, when I look at the Bible and then I see what these ministries are saying and doing, it is clear to me, they are not basing their ministries and proclamations on Biblical Truth, pure and simple. In the end, I know God will judge their hearts and their works, that's not my job to do, but I do think we have an obligation to be discerning and truthful about all things. For those of us that can see this trend and understand its dangers, let us pray that God's Holy Spirit will convict Rick Warren, Schuler and Wilkerson and others like them, to where they will turn away from this very dangerous direction they are headed (especially since they are leading a lot of others with them).
From Kevin: I just happened to come across your article online re; The Problems with The Prayer of Jabez! Now although my time would not allow me the opportunity of reading the whole article, the first thing that came to mind from the title alone was...how insulting and degrading to the Christian faith is such an attack.
All of a sudden all Christians sit front-row-center, appearing like all false religions, empty and foolish, full of back-biting and envy and no different than the pagans. Kind of like the denominational craze, all of mans doing, with each one proposing to be better than the next. This is not what Jesus taught us to be like at all.
Why is it that we so-called 'Perfect Christians' continue to bite the backs of others, choosing to tear down, ridicule, make mockery of, etcetera, etcetera...and make all Christians, not only look like fools, but also as one more group of odd balls out chasing fantasies and full of wild and outlandish expectations.
Not everyone is perfect Berit, especially you or I, nor can the conservative or liberal, or the positive thinking preachers of today ever match up with God's true holiness and righteousness. I don't agree with everything I read or see either...but on that note, Jesus Himself said in Mark 9:39,40, (NIV) "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us." In other words...if they are not against Him, then they must be for Him.
It is one thing as a leader for us to stand against issues that deliberately defile scripture, Same-Sex Marriage and their underlying agendas or Bishops and Ministers, lifting up and endorsing Homosexuality within the pulpit etc., ... but it is yet another to shun the direct work of the Lord who has clearly worked through the author of The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkinson, whom I do not know by the way. Bruce like all of us cannot get everything perfect, but once again, at least the word of Christ is being preached and the people are being drawn to the word so that God Himself can implant to them their role in sharing His perfect word, by means of His imperfect messengers.
I know that I'm not perfect, Kevin. But I want more than anything to more deeply know, serve and follow my Lord. And that involves checking everything I read, hear and do according to the Scriptures He has given us.
My article was not an attack on Bruce Wilkinson. I was responding to many letters from concerned visitors who asked me to read and advise them. I wrote the review after much prayer. By His grace, I sought to understand what the author and publisher together were teaching people (believers and unbelievers) around the world concerning our Lord and His promises.
I'm not going to repeat the concerns I shared in the article, but I would like to urge all our friends and visitors to carefully and prayerfully consider everything they read in light of God's Word. The following exhortation may not be very politically correct in today's postmodern churches and dialectic groups, but it as relevant as ever to you and I and others who long to follow Jesus and His narrow way:
"Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things..." 2 Timothy 4:2-5
From John B: Ran across your take on the Jabez deal -- I agree -- it's one of many prayer formats that the Word of God gives to us -- it has it's place along with many others.
Regarding the following sentence from your article, I have a question for you:
"Since the prayer of Jabez precedes the New Testament call to absolute commitment...."
I don't quite agree with the term "commitment" -- I was saved in 1972 and have been learning over the years, so I've been at this for awhile. Where does it say that we are to "commit our lives to Christ?" -- I hear that quite often. To me, salvation has nothing to do with commitment -- if it did, then we would have to "work" our way to Heaven. Commitment involves work -- salvation and eternal life has to do with belief, not commitment. What is your opinion on that?[See Likewise, our walk with Him is by faith in His all-sufficient life and His strength in all our weakness. See The Secret of Abundant Life
That's a very good question, John. Yes, salvation is by faith in the redemption Jesus Christ bought for us through His death on the cross.
He has called us to a wonderful covenant relationship with Himself, but He will not take second place in our lives. He calls us to surrender our lives and love Him with all our hearts, which means following His ways. And He warns us that if we walk according to our human nature and selfish desires rather than by His Spirit, we have reason to question whether we were actually regenerated (born again) by His Spirit.
Consider these Scriptures. They show us that we must follow God's way, but we can only do it by His grace. We must choose to repent (turn away from our old ways) and to follow Him -- then He enables us by His Spirit. Both our salvation and our daily walk must be by faith.Matthew 22:37-38
"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment."
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."John 14:23
"...whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it..." Luke 14:27-28
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."Matthew 16:24-25
"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."Philippians 2:12-13
"...present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.... Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."Romans 12:1-2, 9
"...do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."Matthew 11:28-30
"I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..."Philippians 3:8-11
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Find more Scriptures here: Called to Total Commitment
I'm from the Philippines. I'm a part-time student in an
evangelical seminary. I've been a Christian for 20 years. But I still haven't
figured out the correct theology of prayer.
Yes, the booklet suggests "name it and claim it." I agree with your comment that it is not the words that make the prayer answered, it is God who answers the prayer. The booklet focuses on the prayer itself, not on the God who answered the prayer of Jabez.
Sometimes, a Korea study prayer tour is conducted by my church. I cant help but think that it might suggest that if we Filipinos just pray like the Koreans, then God would bless the Philippines in the same way He is blessing South Korea now"!
Sometimes I feel that the prevailing sentiment is that the most number of answered prayers is the mark of spirituality; or if not that, the more "holier" a prayer sounds, the more spiritual the person is (example - remember the 2 missionary hostages in Mindanao? people who pray for their release seem to be less spiritual than those who prayed that the 2 won't be released so they can still reach out to their captors!).
I'm confused. But I still pray, without ceasing. Whether He grants my prayer or not, praise Him! I don't believe in "name it and claim it." I know that God solely decides whether He grants a prayer or not, and He is not persuaded by prayers in the same manner Judges are persuaded by lawyers. If He grants a prayer, it is because He wills it and it will give Him glory, and not because of the right choice of words.
This may sound selfish but what I like about prayer is the "peace of God that surpasses all understanding" which God gives immediately after praying. God's peace is the best antidote to unbelief. God's peace assures me that He heard my prayer and I am assured that whatever His response is, it is in exercise of His sovereign will. Either way (yes or no), praise the Lord!
It seems to me you have found the answer, Francis. Maybe it has more to do with you relationship to God than the words you use to talk with Him.
Your letter reminded me of some of the psalms where David or other psalmists begin by expressing their concerns and griefs -- but end up just praising their God and delighting in Him. I so appreciate your faith and responsiveness!
From Linda Cooper-Smith:
In reading the book Prayer of Jabez, I did receive the message from Mr.
Wilkerson that God gives us everything we want. What I understood the author
to say is God loves us and wants to bless us. Christians need to build their
faith through prayer and study, just as we build our bodies through proper
food and exercise. God wants a personal, intimate relationship with each of
us, and he wants to bless us with gifts and his love.
God does answer our prayers. Sometimes the answer is not what we want to hear. Sometimes it is “Yes”. Sometimes the answer is “No”. Sometimes the answer is “Wait and listen for MY will.” As our faith builds, our eyes are opened to the wonders and blessings that have been part of our lives all along. Maintaining a positive, joyful attitude attracts people of like mind. God’s power and spirit are present where 3 or 4 of his people are gathered in worship.
Perhaps you could re-read the book. Keep an open mind to the message of God’s love for us and his desire to bless us. Surely, you do not expound that God wants bad things for us. It is true, sometimes bad things happen, and we may not understand why. That is when faith comes into play, and we must be patient. Many, many times the picture becomes clearer with time and distance from pain.
Linda, you didn't deal with my specific concerns. Perhaps you could re-read my article. Jabez words are Biblical and God answered his prayer. But Wilkinson and his publisher promise readers who follow his extra-biblical formula -- whether believers or not -- more than God tells us in His Word.
From Al: You would give Jesus a good laugh. Your diatribe on the prayer of Jabez is purely intellectual jealousy, or certainly appears to be. Probably commercial based as well. "Gee why didn't I think of that". It's pitiful.
Absolutely nowhere in the prayer or in the P.R. regarding the prayer have I read where it is said to "say this prayer instead of others". Your type of self-righteous indignation toward a beautiful concept and prayer, with your academic field dressing of it's true message, puts you in the same category as those who tried to trip Jesus with their questions.
The prayer is simply that. It's tool for communication with God. Someone has called our attention to it, and has given us some ideas on how it may be of benefit to our spiritual and natural lives.
I think Jesus, Moses, David, and especially Paul would have
a good howl over a glass of wine and say, " Is this guy nuts, doesn't he
realize that we'll take anything in this day and age that will bring our
people closer to the Father. Even a little obscure prayer. We're glad SOMEBODY
NOTICED, after all these years. This crossroads, guy, whats his name, whoever,
needs to stop majoring in minors, and find some practical spirituality. The
kind Jesus talks about". Then Paul would smile and say, "I think I wrote
that in one of my letters, didn't I ?" To which Jesus would respond, " Yeah, with my help."
Al, did you really read my article? You didn't address any of my concerns. I don't believe you understood any of my points.
From John: Why is it when someone finds out how thing really work your can find the time to take issue with it? I am only responding to your web site because while deep despair I received the book Prayer of Jabez and, guess what, it worked. I like you say jesue loves me this i know because the bible tells me so.
My simple thought is this, all of the things that God did were simple. He said "let there be light" and there was light. He said let the earth bring forth cattle and grasses and if did. So why when one man who was more honorable than is brethren prays a simple prayer and get his request honored you find that selfish?
No, I don't, John. I appreciate both Jabez and his prayer. God obviously heard him and responded with love and blessings.
Did you not ask for forgiveness? Did you not as a little child belive? Did we forget that even the woman was caught in the very act of adultery was dismissed by a simple and elegant statement. Where have your accusers gone? Go and sin no more least some thing more terrible befall you.
Simple and to the point. The world will not change because of our veiled attemps to condem them and point out the errors of their ways, They choose those ways on a simple one choice at a time. I cannot tell you why I found your web site nor can I say if we will ever meet. But this I hold true. God's ways are simple and child like It is us the wise beyond our age folks who could stand to look at one thing that Jesus the Son Of God Said. Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Just a thought.
I appreciate your emphasis on the simplicity of faith and life in Christ, John, and I agree with you. I also appreciate the Scriptures you included. And I know that Jabez’ prayer is a Biblical prayer. But you didn’t really answer the concerns I mentioned in the article. It is so easy for our finite minds to think that a particular prayer or formula "works," when it is God (not our words) Who brings the answer.
Second letter from John: Berit, The point that you made is what started me thinking maybe it was not the prayer of Jabez being repeated, but the act of writing a book about it that was God's way to, in principle, answer the authors prayer and he in over looking the simple process of acting and sharing the prayer with others, his borders where enlarged. This is the point that your article helped me arrive at.. Neat how when we set out to instruct others we learn a little bit ourselves. thanks for you site.
I am glad we can encourage each other, John.
Terrence Clark, DMD:
I have just read your article, Problems with The Prayer of
Jabez. Just wanted to let you know I felt it was absolutely right on. It
drives at the heart of what Christianity really is, what our true relationship
with God is and what our obligation to Him in our daily lives is.
The commentary about people today wanting a “feel good god” is correct and insightful. People buy every gadget on TV that promises better health with only one simple exercise a day, only one daily supplement, only this or only that, because it promises what they want and they don’t have to work for it. It is the lottery mentality of something for nothing, of getting everything you want without any real effort or sacrifice. Everywhere we look in the world, people want to do as they please and avoid any consequences for their behavior.
As a dentist, I make a living fixing what generally people could have avoided if they would have just made a reasonable effort to take care of their teeth. Doctors treat diseases every day that are primarily diseases of choice, caused by people’s lifestyles. Invariably, people come in to see us, wanting us to wave a magic wand and make all the problems they themselves have created, simply go away. They want simple answers that don’t cost too much, cause any pain, and can be done without any real change in their lifestyle.
Many Christians want to treat their spirit like they treat their body. They think the Gospel should provide a simple, painless, quick formula that will make their sinful lives OK again. Christ never taught this and His life’s example was just the opposite.
The old cliché, “I never said it would be easy; I only said it would be worth it”, is right on target. Christ gave His precious and perfect life for us and all we want to give in return is a repetitive two minute prayer each day?
Mr. Kjos quotes the right scriptures, and there are many more good examples that prove beyond any doubt, that God expects us to do our very best, to give our all, to sacrifice whatever it takes, even our own lives if necessary, for the Kingdom of God. This is what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. Following the formula from the Prayer of Jabez, no offense to the good things within it, is like buying the Abs Machine and assuming we’ll never have another health issue again.
From Rob: I just read your comments about the Prayer of Jabez and thank you for your insights. I don't fully agree with you though. I believe that if we pray the prayer "in His will," then the answer will come. This is where I believe the problem lays.
Perhaps some would like to see the Scripture that supports your words, Rob:
"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. " 1 John 5:14-15
Many believers wish to pray the Jabez for their will. If we
pray it so that our territory enlarges so only He may be glorified, then it is
in His will. I agree that many Christians try to take the shortcut in their
sanctification, and this mis-understanding of the Jabez prayer can be one of
them. Also, I agree the repetition of a prayer is wrong if it is more like
chanting. We should be never ceasing in prayer, but not chanting.
I really enjoyed your insight into noting Jesus gave us another prayer, which emphasized praise, His will, praying for provision, and obedience.
Thank you, Rob.
Anonymous: I don't like the prayer namely because it seems to me people want to use it for selfish gain, but like James said, God does not hear selfish prayers. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." I do believe God does provide for us though, and it is his will for Christians to prosper in everything, but the big 'Prayer of Jabez' explosion seems more like religious nonsense. I don't mean good religion, but the Pharisee kind of religion (if you know what I mean).
I'm not sure I know what you mean, but I appreciate the quote from James 4:3.
God -- in His love and wisdom -- may answer our self-focused requests, but sometimes His answers become part of His disciplines. For example, when ancient Israel complained about their monotonous diet during their years in the wilderness, God heard their prayer but His answer brought pain after a short moment of pleasure:
"They did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul."
From Dan Goor: The most fundamentally flawed part of the book has to do with a missed translation. In Chron. 1 4:9 it does not say that Jabez was more HONORABLE than his brothers, which would mean of better character, higher integrity, etc. what it actually say is the he was more honored than were his brothers. This simply means that others thought more highly of him, not that he was better.
Thank you, Dan.
From Michael Stephens: I would like to comment on the article about the Jabez prayer. I believe now more than ever, we as Christians need to make a stand and stick together. I feel that instead of pointing out negatives or what is wrong with a particular book, we need to show and teach how to use it properly.
I am a avid reader of the Jabez book and devotional. I have read each numerous times and continue to read them. At first when I read the book, I was looking for an answer to help my business and personal life to succeed in world and my own terms. As I read the book more and was given the devotional, I am finding the true importance in life and my Christian walk. My business is not mine but God's and I should pray for God to bless it more and expand it's territory so it in turn can be used as a greater witness for God and can be used to further HIS kingdom.
I should also be thinking the same for my personal life. What needs to be discussed about the book and the prayer is how to look past the World's view of success and focus on God's view. How we should put our life totally in HIS hands and not our own. How we should not let fear rule our lives but allow GOD to work in our lives.
I hope that you are not offended by this e-mail and I hope that you might take a second look at the book and see how to use it as a tool to teach further dependance on GOD.
2 Timothy 4:2-5
I am not offended, Michael. Instead I appreciate your heart and your message. But please read our article again. I think you missed our main concern. The fact that the book includes many truths based on the Bible doesn't excuse the extra-biblical promises made by both the author and the publisher.
You say that "we as Christians need to make a stand and stick together" and keep from "pointing of pointing out negatives." Your first point is true, but the second part is not Biblical. Yes, God wants us to encourage each other with the good things He gives and promises us, but we must also help each other be accurate and show Biblical integrity in our expressions. In other words, we must follow His guidelines and not ignore His vital exhortations and warnings. He tells us to -
"Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things..."
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