The capacity prayer
Updated: Nov 25, 2022
1 Chronicles 4:10 is the shortest, most effective prayer I have ever seen. It stems from a short story about Jabez. The chapter starts with the genealogy of Judah and is quickly interrupted to capture the story of Jabez.
According to his mother, Jabez was born in pain and, as a result, named after the situation. The passage records that he prayed, and the Lord granted his request.
The key points I took from this short reading are;
He prayed practically. He asked for blessings and the capacity to contain them by asking for an enlarged territory.
He recognised that the hand of God could bless him and stop him away from causing pain.
Prayer can change any situation; The scripture mentioned Jabez was more honourable than his brothers, so his situation changed.
The capacity to contain, manage and not misuse our blessing is essential.
If you want something so badly, be sure you have what it takes to manage it. Many of us ask for things that will mar us or the things we will make a mess of if they are handed to us.
I remember a time I prayed hard for something for so long, then it came suddenly, and I was not quite ready for it, the way it was thrust on me. I thought God would answer my prayer differently. However, the answer was two steps ahead of my expectation, and I almost lost that opportunity. I wasn't prepared for it that way. I had to double up and pull a few strings to catch up. Thank God I made it.
I recently came across a quote by Leke Alder that said, 'be psychologically prepared for the consequences of your ambition'. That's a kind of capacity. I will also liken it to a stretch, all of which is associated with growth. Praying for blessings is good, but also praying for the ability and grace to contain these blessings is never amiss. God will not give us what we will misuse or waste. Be sure you can manage the blessings you are praying for. If you can't, take a cue from Jabez and pray for a larger territory.
2 Kings 4-6 recorded a similar story when Elisha asked the woman whose husband was dead and had just a jar of oil left to borrow empty jars from her neighbours. The more the jar she could collect, the more the oil she got, further drawing my attention to the need for capacity, not just in prayers but also in our everyday life. We must always make room for more!
I invested a lot in personal development while aspiring for a career transitioning a couple years ago. I ensured I was improving my skills and ability to take on new challenges because I now understand that what I don't build capacity for can also destroy me when entrusted to me.
Now Jabez was more honourable than his brothers, and his mother called him 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.