The Prayer of Jabez is a short passage in the
Old Testament book of
1 Chronicles and is also the title of a recently popular Christian book by Bruce Wilkinson (Multnomah, 2000).
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain." And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "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!" So God granted him what he requested, (1 Chronicles 4:9-10).
Bruce Wilkinson's book
A recent popular book of the same name by Bruce Wilkinson, based on this single biblical prayer, was published in 2000. ^
"Bruce Wilkinson was a guest on James Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program in early-March of 2001. Referring to Wilkinson's latest book (at the time), The Prayer of Jabez, Dobson claimed that it had sold one million copies
in February 2001 alone, and the book's official Internet web site then claimed that sales totaled nine million, with more than 13 million in print. It was a USA Today/New York Times/Washington Post/Publisher's Weekly number one bestseller,
and is being embraced by Evangelicals, Catholics, Fundamentalists, and even non-Christians. It won the Book of the Year ECPA Gold Medallion Award. Bill Gothard, who was recently asked to write a book on why the Jabez prayer works, said, "Because
it's a cry, not a prayer, and crying is more powerful."
In the book Wilkinson claims that if we'll just pray the prayer of Jabez, word-for-word, every day for a month, then we'll see God's power released in our lives, (Jabez, p. 11, p. 86). Critics suggest that to Wilkinson, the key
isn't God's choice to answer Jabez's prayer. The key is that Jabez stumbled upon the right formula for asking things of God. Wilkinson reverses the cause and effect and implies that Jabez was honorable because he figured out the right
way to pray. Wilkinson's emphasis is on Jabez finding the correct method, instead of on God and His Sovereignty.
- Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez (Multnomah, 2000)