It's late and I should soon get to bed, but I wanted to share something with you guys first. I have been reading "The Prayer of Jabez" book. I've been praying the prayer every morning ["Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory. Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." 1 Chronicles 4:10] I paraphrased it, though, to make it something like this: "Oh, that You would bless me indeed - so that I may have the resources that I need to be used by You. Enlarge my territory - enlarge my area of opportunity, so that I may be used greatly by You and for You. May Your hand be with me - because without You, I can do nothing. Change my life around and make it what You want it to be."
It may sound wrong to ask God for blessings, but the thing is, it isn't! God wants us to go to Him and ask Him to give us more opportunities to serve Him. God wants us to have blessings, so that we can give to others. Think about it; God must love to hear His children cry out to Him for more opportunities to share His love, for more blessings to share with others, for His hand to be in all that we do so that we can be effective witnesses for Him! God answered Jabez's prayer, and let me tell you that He has answered mine as well.
God has been working in my life. He has been opening doors for me to talk to my friends about Christ. He has been helping me to not be so judgmental. He has been giving me goals for the new year that I would never have wanted before, but now I want to try to reach those goals. He has been helping me to get up in the mornings and read His Word. He has been giving me new perspectives on things. He has been opening my eyes to things in my life. He has been helping me to see myself in a new way, because my true identity lies in Him - and when I am connected to Him, I find my true and real identity and who I really am. God has been doing things in my life that I wasn't expecting to happen. All because I have been asking Him to.
You can ask Him, too. In fact, He wants you to go to Him and ask Him to "bless you indeed" so that you can use the blessings for His glory. He wants you to go to Him and ask Him to "enlarge your territory" and open up opportunities for you to share Him with others so that more people know the truth about Him. He wants you to go to Him and ask Him for "His hand to be with you" so that in everything you do for God, you will have His strength and courage to do it [and trust me, you need it]. Now the next part: "Keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain". Jabez's name basically means "pain". He didn't want to live up to his name and have a life of pain like those around him thought he would have. He wanted to live outside the borders that society placed on his life. He wanted to live the life that God wanted for Him. He didn't want to live a life of pain. He wanted to live the life that the people around him thought he would never live. He wanted God to change his life. He also wanted to be free from temptations and evil, so that the pain that evil causes would be spared on his life. He knew that once he started to live a life of blessing, satan was going to attack him spiritually. And so he asked God to spare him from evil.
Jesus wants us to ask him to spare us from evil. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." [Matthew 6:13] That was part of Jesus' model prayer for us to follow. He wants us to go to Him and ask Him to keep us from evil. Sometimes, though, fighting against evil is necessary. In those times, we need God's weapons and lots of prayer to help us get through the battles.
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." [2 Corinthians 10:4]
God wants you to live for Him. God wants you to go to Him and ask Him to make your life extreme for Him. God wants you to go to Him and ask Him to help you to live above who society wants you to become. God wants you to go to Him and ask Him to keep you from unnecessary evil. God wants you to go to Him and ask Him to change your life.
"And God granted his request" [1 Chronicles 4:10]. If you go to God with a pure heart and pure motives, He'll grant yours as well.