The Prayer of Jabez: A way to blessing or mystical mantra?

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The Prayer of Jabez

"And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words."
Matthew 6:8

"During an uneventful time in Israel's history, a faithful man named Jabez prayed a simple, straightforward prayer and gained the favor and blessings of God. Now, a small book has prompted millions of saints and seekers to memorize and repeat the same prayer daily. After three thousand years of obscurity, Jabez has found surprising favor with the world.

So, what's the problem with promoting a Biblical prayer that God honored in His Word? After all, our Lord delights in the prayers of His saints -- all the daily thanks, praises and petitions that turn our hearts to Him in faith, worship and surrender. Using Bible verses as a basis for prayer and worship is a wonderful habit. Why be concerned?

Because this book -- not Jabez' prayer -- promises rewards from God that God doesn't promise in the Bible. While author Bruce Wilkinson enriches the meaning of Jabez' prayer in the rest of his book, the first part (many readers go no further) seems to put the book into the unbiblical realm of the "name it claim it" movement. Consider the opening words:

Dear Reader, I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God always answers. It is brief--only one sentence with four parts--and tucked away in the Bible, but I believe it contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God....

Thousands of believers who are applying its truths are seeing miracles happen on a regular basis. Will you join me for a personal exploration of Jabez? I hope you will!

Excerpt from "Problems with the Prayer of Jabez" by Berit Kjos

"The Christian mantra! The dictionary says that a Hindu or Buddhist mantra "is a sacred word or formula repeated as an incantation, or stock phrase." Before reading Jabez I was warned by many outstanding Bible scholars that the book reflects such a mantra approach to the prayer of Jabez. This was hard to believe at first but my fears were proven to be correct."— Professor Mal Couch,
A Critique of the Prayer of Jabez

"Unfortunately, this book is one indicator of the condition of the church today; it reflects the desire for many to share in His glory, just like Adam and Eve did 6,000 years ago. Today, we don't want to submit to God; we want to be God"
by Bill Koenig

"Despite its biblical trappings, The Prayer of Jabez is a book of New Age spirituality-- a gospel of personal empowerment." by Damon Linker  


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