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THE LEADER’S PRAYER LIFE

Lessons from the Life of Jabez and Jesus


Leadership Lifter
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Rick Warren

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I
gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that You would bless
me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I
will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

Jabez was a man who literally stood out in a crowd. In a list of over 600 names, God singled out
this one man for special recognition. What made Jabez so special?

THREE CHARACTERISTICS

1. YOU NEED A ____________________________________________________________

“… Enlarge my territory!”

Common Misconceptions:

• We confuse ____________________ with ____________________

• We confuse ____________________ with ____________________

• We confuse ____________________ with ____________________

2. YOU NEED A ____________________________________________________________

Jabez – ordinary, yet above average

To live above average…

3. YOU NEED A ____________________________________________________________

“Jabez prayed…”
THE LEADER’S PRAYER LIFE, Lessons From the Life of Jabez and Jesus
Leadership Lifter

THREE REQUESTS

• He prayed for ________________________________________ in his life.

“Bless me…” v. 10
.

• He prayed for ________________________________________ in his life.

“Let your hand be with me…” v. 10

• He prayed for ________________________________________ over his life.

“Keep me from harm so I will be free from pain.” v. 10

Are you living above average?

PRINCIPLES FROM THE PRAYER LIFE OF JESUS

1. ____________________________________________________________

“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as He was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a
voice came from heaven: ‘You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.’”
Luke 3:21-22

2. ____________________________________________________________

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

3. ____________________________________________________________

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to
God.” Luke 6:12

4. ____________________________________________________________

“Once when Jesus was praying in private and His disciples were with Him…” Luke 9:18

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THE LEADER’S PRAYER LIFE, Lessons From the Life of Jabez and Jesus
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5. ____________________________________________________________

“… He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As He
was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a
flash of lightning.” Luke 9:28-29

6. ____________________________________________________________

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said
to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught His disciples.’”

7. ____________________________________________________________

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that
your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Luke 22:31-32

8. ____________________________________________________________

“Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
Luke 22:42

9. ____________________________________________________________

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” Luke 23:34

10. ____________________________________________________________

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.’ When He
had said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46

11. ____________________________________________________________

“When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to
give it to them.” Luke 24:30

12. ____________________________________________________________

“When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed
them.” Luke 24:50

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THE LEADER’S PRAYER LIFE
Lessons from the Life of Jabez and Jesus
Leadership Lifter-, #LL58
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Rick Warren

Are you an average American? I recently did some research on this subject. I discovered that
the average American is married, 29 years old. If you’re a man, your average height is 5’9”. If
you’re a woman, your average height is 5’4”. The average American owns credit cards, laughs
fifteen times a day, makes 1029 phone calls a year. If you’re a man, on average, you’ll live to be
69 and if you’re a woman you’ll live, on average, 76. But the most depressing statistic I
discovered about the average American is the average American has 27 trillion fat cells in his or
her body.

I’ve never considered being called average a compliment. I think it means you’re just as close to
the bottom as on top. I don’t believe that God meant for you to be average. I don’t think God
meant for you to live a so-so or bland, mediocre life. As a leader, I don’t think God intends for
you to be an average leader. I believe that every human being was designed for excellence, that
you’re not one in a million, you’re one in five billion and as the book In Search of Excellence
states, “The average person desires to be excellent in many different ways.” There is no one else
like you in the universe.

I want to talk to you about how to be an above average leader. We’re going to look at the
leader's prayer life. In this Leadership Lifter we’re going to conclude the third and final of three
studies on characters in the Old Testament and lessons of leadership we learn from them. We’re
going to look at the life of Jabez.

Jabez is a man who literally stood out in a crowd. There’s not much on him in the Bible. In 1
Chronicles 4, you find a couple of sentences about him in the middle of a bunch of genealogies.
In the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles it’s one list of names after another. I counted over 600
different names listed in those first nine chapters. Yet in the middle of 600 names God singles
out one man for special recognition. He stands above average. He’s like a redwood tree in a
forest of Bonzai’s. Of all the people of those 600 names, Jabez gets an honorable mention.
There’s only two verses in the Bible about this man but that’s more than his contemporaries.

My question is, What made Jabez so special? What made him above average? Why did God
honor a man above all of his contemporaries?

When God honors a man, you know he must have done something significant. So I want us to
look at what he did to cause his name to be preserved for posterity and people are still talking
about him thousands of years later.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 it says, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had
named him Jabez saying, `I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cries out to God, `O God, that You
would bless me and enlarge my territory and keep me from harm so that I would be free from
pain.’ And God granted his request.” Here we just have a thumbnail, biographical sketch on
Jabez but we learn that there are three secrets to his life just in these couple of verses. I believe
these three qualities are things you need to be an above average leader.
THE LEADER’S PRAYER LIFE, Lessons From the Life of Jabez and Jesus
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1. First, you need A GREAT AMBITION.

You see this in Jabez’ life. While Jabez’ friends were satisfied with being average, Jabez said,
“Lord, I want to do something significant with my life. Bless me. Enlarge my territory.” He
didn’t want to be ordinary. He wanted to excel and grow. In other words, he was a person of
vision and dreams. He wanted something special and something great from his life. It makes me
think of that beer commercial that says, “Go for the gusto!” Most of all, he wanted God’s
blessing in his life.

A lot of people never achieve the leadership level that they could achieve in life because they
just drift through life with no ambition, no master plan, no real purpose, no dream that pulls them
along. It’s what I call haphazard living. You’ve got to have a dream if you’re going to be a
great leader. And in looking at Jabez’ prayer life we’ll find that his prayers actually came out of
his dreams. When you stop dreaming, you start dying. If you have no goals, you have no
growth. You were designed by God for great dreams. God put it in your mind the ability to
think great thoughts and dream great dreams and to have great visions. I believe that as long as
your horizon is widening, then you are a healthy human being. I didn’t say your waistline is
expanding, but your horizon is widening. When you’re stretching and growing and developing,
you’re a healthy human being. We grow by being stretched. We grow by facing new
challenges. In fact, I would say that if you’re not facing any challenges right now, you need to
go find one quick. It is absolutely essential for your mental health. Life with no challenges, no
goals, no dreams can be summed up in one word – boredom. Because life, interestingly enough,
is just a series of solving one problem after another. As soon as you solve one you get another
one. And if you don’t have any problems, you’d better check your pulse.

There are three common misconceptions that keep people from having a great ambition in life.
This is especially true of pastors and Christian leaders.

1. We tend to confuse humility and fear.

We say, “I could never do that.” That’s not being humble. That might just be being worried.
That’s fear. It’s a lack of faith. Humility says, “I’ll do it with the Lord’s help.” I’ve said many
times that humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your
weaknesses. All of us are a bundle of both great strengths and great weaknesses and humility is
being able to be honest about both. Paul could say, “Follow me as I follow Christ,” because he
was also honest about his weaknesses and he said, ”I’m the chief among sinners.” So he writes
down both his strengths and his weaknesses.

Here we need to see that God wants you to be humble, but He does not want you to be fearful.
And to not accomplish anything is not humility but fear. When people say, “I just try to serve
God in my little way,” you need to say, “You need to stop it and serve God in the greatest way
possible and say, ‘With God’s blessings, I can do it!’” It’s no problem for God to humble you.
I’ve learned that from personal experience. Just about the time I think I’ve got it all together,
God will just kind of shake the rug underneath me and remind me where my stability comes
from and where my strength comes from and where the blessings come from in my life. Don’t
worry about God humbling you. He has plenty ways to do that. Worry that you might not be all
that He wants you to be because of fear.

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2. We tend to confuse contentment with laziness.

We confuse the two. In Philippians 4:12 Paul says, “I have learned to be content in every
situation.” But that does not mean I don't have any ambition, that I never set any goals. Some
people think because of this verse they should never have any goals for their church, but should
be content with wherever it is. Paul was not saying, “I don’t have any desires about tomorrow. I
don't hope for the future. I don’t have any ambitions.” What he’s saying is, “I’ve learned to
fully enjoy today, this moment, even though my goals may not be reached yet.”

As a pastor, you need to learn to be happy while your church is whatever size it is right now.
There’s a misconception that says, “Once my church gets to 300 (or 500 or some number) then
I’ll be happy.” No, you won’t. If you’re not happy with the place God has placed you right now,
you won’t be happy as it continues to grow because you’ll always fall into the trap of “when and
then” thinking – “When I get such and such, then I’ll be happy.” If everybody used contentment
as an excuse for laziness, who would build the churches that reach the people? Who would care
about world hunger? Who would fight for justice and equality? Who would even go out and get
an education? The third grader who says, "I’ve learned to be content with whatever stage I’m
at,” never goes on to the fourth grade. We cannot confuse contentment and laziness.

3. We tend to confuse little thinking with spirituality.

Some people use God as an excuse: “I’ll just serve God in my little, ol’ way.” Satan is an expert
at getting us to think small. There’s the old myth of quality is the opposite of quantity. Actually
they’re both important. In a ministry, you want to reach as many people for Christ and you want
them to grow as deeply as possible. But if quality was judged by size, then the church of one
person would be the highest quality church. Don’t confuse little thinking with spirituality.
People say, “I’m just the way God made me to be.” Don’t blame God for your lack of growth
because you can grow.

Jabez is an example of the power of big thinking. He says, “Bless me and enlarge my
territories.” I encourage you in your prayer life to start saying, “God, enlarge my territories.”
That’s a Biblical prayer. He’s an example of great men and women who think great thoughts.
You need a great expectation from God.

2. The second thing you need to be above average as a leader is A GROWING FAITH.

Jabez had a deep trust and a deep belief in God. He obviously from his prayer recognized that
the source of his blessing was the Lord, not anybody else. It reminds me of William Carey who
said, “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” In these two verses, we
notice a couple of things about Jabez.

1. There is no mention that there is any special ability of Jabez.

It doesn’t say that he had any peculiar talent or unique gift. It does not say he was educated,
wealthy. There is no mention that would make him stand out – just his prayer. He was just a
common man with uncommon faith in God.

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One of my favorite songs is “God uses ordinary people,” Just like the little boy who brought his
gift of five loaves and fish to the Lord who broke it and multiplied it and used it. God can do
great things with very ordinary people who believe in Him. There’s something that’s far more
important and powerful than talent and ability and that is faith. It’s believing that God can work
in your life and trusting God to help you.

I’ve had the opportunity over the years to talk with a lot of people. I’ve met many super talented
people who are today setting on the sidelines in ministry while people with only average ability
or normal talents but with great faith are scoring the touchdowns. If you’ve got faith in God,
then you don’t have to worry about what you don’t have, but trust in God and have that growing
faith.

2. Evidently, Jabez had some kind of handicap.

We don’t know what it was but it was some kind of disability. His name means “painful” in
Hebrew. Evidently he caused his mother so much grief when he was born that his mother named
him Painful. How would you like to be named Painful? And growing up, every time somebody
looked at you, they’d say, “He’s a pain!” Probably from this name it would indicate that Jabez
was unwanted, possibly he was unloved. His name was a constant reminder that even his mother
regretted his birth. That’s pretty tough.

So there’s some kind of handicap. We don’t know if it was emotional or physical but he must
have had it tough in life. But Jabez’ faith was stronger than his handicap and he refused to let it
get him down.

The question, I want to ask you is, “Who has labeled you? What label are you allowing to
control your life?” I’ve talked to many people who said, “My dad said when I was growing up,
‘You’ll never amount to anything.’” Or a teacher or Sunday School worker, a neighbor had
made some label that’s caused you to say, “I can’t be all that God wants me to be.” That may be
an emotional handicap that you need to ask God to help you get rid of. You may have a physical
handicap. Maybe you have a spiritual handicap. But it may be like Jabez and you had an
unhappy childhood, a frustrating job or marriage situation. Jesus says, “All things are possible
to him who believes.” So if you’re going to live above average, you first need a great ambition
and second, you need a growing faith.

3. The third thing, and that which I want to focus mostly in this tape, is that Jabez had A
GENUINE PRAYER LIFE.

I think the whole key to Jabez’ life was in those two words – “Jebez prayed”. He was honored
by God because of a secret prayer he prayed. His prayer was the key to his life. And he says,
“Lord I want You to bless me. I want You to enlarge my territory. And I want You to be with
me.” So he prays for God’s blessing in his life.

When you look closely at Jabez’ prayer, you’ll see that there are three specific requests and these
requests are the requests that caused him to be an above average leader. I would say that if you
want answers to your prayers I would encourage you to pray the same way that Jabez prayed.

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1. Jabez prayed for God’s power in his life.

He says, “Bless me. I want You to enlarge my tent.” He knew that to live above average, it was
going to take more than his own strength. It was going to take God’s power in his life to
accomplish his dream. Notice he’s very specific about what he prays about. He’s saying, I want
you to give me more territory. Literally more land. Some of you pastors might want to pray that
for your church. But God wants us to pray about our goals. He wants us to be specific. Nothing
becomes dynamic unless it becomes specific. The more specific I am in my prayers, the more
quickly God’s going to answer.

I remember one time when Kay and I had moved to the Saddleback Valley and we were looking
for our first home to buy. We made a list of eleven conditions that we needed: It has to be a
certain price, it has to have no money down, it needs to have a view, I wanted a Jacuzzi, I wanted
a darkroom (It was ridiculous the things we put on this), we wanted pine trees in the yard. When
we found the house that we now live in right now and have lived in for ten years, it had all
eleven characteristics and we were able to buy it. It was an absolute miracle. We had no money
at all. Be specific.

When you look at a request like this, it seems pretty selfish. It says, I want you to bless me. But
evidently God approved of it because God answered it. Ambition is neither good nor bad. It’s a
basic drive that you have in life. The difference is determined by your motive. Why do you
want what you want? God will never honor an unworthy motive. In James, He says when you
ask with wrong motives, God’s not going to give it to you. Evidently Jabez’ motives were pure
and genuine because God granted his request.

From this, I think that God dares us to ask for big requests. James 4:3 says, “You have not
because you ask not.” Jeremiah says, “Call unto Me and I will answer you and show you great
and mighty things that you know not.” Over twenty times in the New Testament we’re
commanded to ask. Jesus said, “Ask, Seek, Knock.” That spells “ASK”. In Ephesians 3:20, it
says “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power
that is at work within us.” That’s one of my favorite verses because it says you can’t out ask or
you can’t out dream God. I’ve got a pretty big imagination and yet God says, “Warren, you
think of the greatest thing possible, that you could possibly think of, the greatest blessing for
your family and for your ministry and I can top that and do something even beyond your
imagination.” Stretch your imagination and let God take you further than you’ve ever gone
before in your prayer life, in praying for God’s blessing on your ministry and on your life. He
prayed for God’s power.

2. The second thing that Jabez prayed for is he prayed for God’s presence in his life.

More than anything else a leader needs to know God’s presence in his life. He says, “Let Your
hand be with me.” Why is it important for a leader to know God’s presence? Because greater
responsibility requires greater sensitivity to the Lord. When you have a large territory that
means more responsibility. The bigger your church gets, the more problems you’re going to
have, the more difficulties you’re going to have, the more relationships you must deal with.
There are greater demands. There are more pressures. Jabez says, “God, if You’re going to
enlarge my territory then I’m going to need Your presence. I’m going to need You to be with me
in my life. I can’t handle it without You.” Many times I fall flat on my face before the Lord and
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say, “God, I’m incompetent to handle the growth of this church. I cannot handle the
responsibility. Yet if You will be with me, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens
me.” You pray for God’s power, you pray for God’s presence, then.

3. You need to pray for God’s protection over your life.

Notice he says “Keep me from harm so I will be free from pain.” This is an interesting request.
Why do you think Jabez prayed, “Keep me from harm”? I think one of the reasons is the bigger
you get, the more critics you’re going to have. The larger your territory, the more borders you
have to protect, the more enemies are going to envy you and the more angles you can be attacked
from. If your borders are small, you don’t have much to protect. I’ve found that the closer you
grow to the Lord, the more the devil hassles you. Jabez knew this and he knew with God’s
power and God’s presence and God’s protection, he wasn’t going to have to fear anything.
When you combine these three factors in a prayer life – a great ambition and a growing faith and
a genuine prayer life – you can bet your life you’re going to be an above average leader. You’re
going to stand out in a crowd.

Let’s get real personal and let me ask you, Which of these three elements are active in your life?
how do you evaluate your life?

Have you let God give you a great ambition for your life, for your ministry? Have you had a
glimpse of what God wants to do in your life? Maybe the most important thing you could do is
take a full day off get off by yourself with your Bible and say, “God help me to see the situation
as You see it. Help me to see Your church as You want it to be. Not as it is, but as You want it
to be.” The most fulfilling ambition is to do God’s will. The Bible says, “Seek ye first the
kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” So never be afraid of having
ambition if what you’re attempting is ultimately for the glory of God. There’s no doubt about it
that ambition outside of God’s control is destructive. But ambition under God’s control is
dynamic. I believe that there is nothing that God won’t do for the person who’s sole ambition is
for God’s greater glory. Let God give you a great ambition for your church.

Do you have a growing faith? Do you believe that God wants to work in your life? Are you
expecting Him to work in your life? Every Sunday I pray the same prayer before I go deliver the
message in each of the four services that I teach. I say, “God, I know it would be a waste of time
for me to walk in there without expecting You to bless me. So I want to thank You in advance
that You’re going to bless me, You’re going to use me not because of who I am but because of
who Jesus is. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of what Jesus Christ has already done
on the cross.” Then you expect God to work in your life. He uses you when you expect Him to.
So believe that God can help you overcome those problems and critics, those difficulties and
those lack of resources in your church. Ask God to help your faith to grow.

How about the third area? Do you have a genuine prayer life? If you’re going to live above
average you need to be continually asking the same three requests, I believe, that Jabez asked:
“God, I need Your presence, I need it on a moment to moment basis so I know You’re with me
and that I know I’m not in this by myself. Father, I need Your power and I need to trust in You
completely. When I get tired, that You will energize me and reinvigorate me to be all that You
want me to be. And then, Father, I need Your protection. I can relax knowing that the safest
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place to be is right in the center of Your will, serving You in ministry.” If you’ll pray these
prayers, you’ll be an above average leader just as Jabez was.

When we go to the New Testament, we find not only were these principles operating in Jesus’
life but we find some principles of prayer that I want to share with you before I close this
message. Years ago, an old saint shared with me twelve prayer principles from the life of Jesus
Christ. It made such a difference in my personal prayer life and I’d like to share these with you.
There are only 17 references to Jesus praying and most of them are in the book of Luke. I’d like
to quickly take you through the prayer life of Jesus Christ to close this tape and let you see
principles in His life that we can apply to our lives as leaders.

1. The principle of ILLUMINATION.

Luke 3:21-22. “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as He
was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My Son whom I love. With You I am well pleased.”
The setting here was Jesus’ baptism and this is the first recorded example of Jesus’ praying and
we see in the book of Luke three results of His praying.

1. Heaven opened up. I think this is symbolic of God’s blessing.


2. The Holy Spirit came down.
3. The Father spoke.

I think these are three results when we make contact with God in our prayers. Symbolically,
heaven opens up and we receive God’s blessing. The Holy Spirit enters and fills our lives afresh.
And the Father speaks to us. If you’d like to know the Spirit’s power in your life, if you’d like
God to speak to you, you must practice the prayer life of Jesus.

2. The principle of ISOLATION.

Luke 5:16 “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” “Often” means it was His habit.
He did it in places where He was all by Himself. I believe this is absolutely essential that we
need to spend time alone with God everyday. How many pastors know this and yet how many of
us find other things crowding into our lives, crowding out the quiet time and it takes a lesser
place in our lives. Jesus returned again and again to a lonely place. I would suggest to you that
one of the ways to increase your prayer life is to find a special place. As time goes by when you
go back to the same place over and over, it takes on a sacredness because it’s there that you meet
with God. Find that place where you can get alone with God, where you can be isolated and
pray aloud and let God speak to you.

3. The principle of CONCENTRATION.

Luke 6:12 “In those days Jesus went out on the mountainside to pray and He spent the night
praying to God.” Notice it says, “He spent the night…” Not continued for a few minutes but
spent all night. When I was in college, I had a prayer partner who, every morning we got up at 5
a.m. for the entire year, we never missed a day, and prayed from about 5 to 6 a.m. But the
greatest lessons of my prayer life in those years were the nights that I spent all nights in prayer.
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Many, many nights. Decisions that were made in those days have affected my ministry. My
decision to marry my wife was made in a prayer meeting all night with one other person.
Sometimes when I pray it takes just a few minutes for me to get my thoughts collected.
Sometimes it takes a long time for me to even get in the mood. I’ve found that it’s important to
spend extended blocks of time with God so that you can concentrate on what He wants you to do
and His will for your life.

4. The principle of INSULATION.

Notice it says, “Once when Jesus was praying in private, the disciples were with Him.” Notice
that the disciples were with him but He still found time for personal prayer. This is an important
principle because there’s not always time to get alone by yourself. There’s times when you can’t
be isolated. I think of this as kind of an incubator verse. Babies can be in the middle of a busy
hospital but they can be incubated in a situation that protects them from the hustle and bustle
around them. Sometimes I find as a pastor I just can’t get alone, but I can have an attitude of
isolation or insulation and I can be silent even in the middle of a traffic jam. My prayer can
overcome the interruptions when I put myself in an attitude of insulation.

5. The principle of TRANSFORMATION.

We find this in Luke 9:28-29. “He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up on a
mountain to prayer. As He was praying the appearance of His face changed and His clothes
became as bright as a flash of lightening.” Prayer changes you. Do you think it’s possible to
spend so much time with God that when you come away your face shows it? That’s an example
here that we’ve seen. It reminds me of the example in the Old Testament of Moses when he
came down from the mountaintop he wore a veil and after the glow wore off he continued to
wear the veil because he didn’t want people to know the glory had gone. I think all of us as
leaders of the church can identify with that, that sometimes you don’t want people to know how
spiritually dried up you have been.

2 Corinthians 3:18 “We all with unveiled faces behold the glory of the Lord.” It says as we look
on Him “We are transformed from one degree to another.” The word in that passage is the
word katoptrizo. It’s the only time that word is used in the entire Bible. It means, ”to seriously
look at, to contemplate, to meditate, to gaze on like somebody gazing in a mirror.” It says as we
gaze on the word, as we reflect on the word, like a mirror reflects, we become more and more
like Christ. And we’re transformed. One day the Bible says, we shall see Christ as He is and
we’ll be completely transformed to be just like Him. Now, we just see Him in a glass. We see a
reflection of Him through His word. But as we spend time with God’s word we become more
and more like Him. It’s like the story in Acts where it says they knew that the disciples had been
with Jesus.

The question is, Do people notice that about me? Do they notice that about you? Have people
noticed that we’ve been with Jesus? The Bible says that when we spend time with God, it
changes us into His likeness.

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6. The principle of EXEMPLIFICATION.

Luke 11:1 “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place and when He finished one of His
disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.’” Notice it does
not say, “Teach us how to pray,” which is often misquoted. It says “Teach us to pray.” I would
suggest that this is a dangerous prayer to pray. We should not pray this request unless we really
mean it, because God will often use trials and hardships and difficulties to teach us to pray.
There’s no doubt about it that when we get in tough times we’re much more open to praying than
when we’re not. I think the two most dangerous prayers a person can pray is “Thy will be done”
and “Teach us to pray.” Because the way you learn to pray is by being put into situations to
force you to pray. That’s the principle of Jesus teaching by example.

7. The principle of PRESERVATION.

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon. Satan has asked to sift you as wheat but I have prayed for you,
Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
This is a prayer of protection. He’s saying, I’m praying for your protection. It’s a life pre server.
We don’t just believe in prayer, we believe in God. Jesus not only saves you but He prays for
you. Just as He prays for Peter, we know in Hebrews 7:27 He prays for us.

Robert Murray McShane once said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I
would not fear a million enemies.” God is praying for us right now. Jesus is seated at the right
hand of the Father making intercession for us.

8. The principle of PREPARATION.

Luke 22:42 Jesus prays “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will but
Yours be done.” Notice the change in this prayer. First, He said, Take it away from Me. Then
He said, “Lord, leave it.” He prayed earnestly. Why? Because He knew He would be facing in
the next few hours the greatest trial of His life and He didn’t want to approach it prayerlessly. So
in preparing of the crisis they knew Jesus prayed.

Do you make prayer preparations before your daily activities? Do you say, “God, prepare me for
the unknown crises that I’m going to face in ministry today.” Jesus said, “Lord, I don’t know
what’s going to come but I want Your will more than anything else.” This is the principles of
preparation.

9. The principle of REVELATION.

This is the prayer that Jesus prayed on the cross. One of the seven last words of Christ where
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they’re doing.” We can really learn
a lot about Christ’s character here because He’s in agony. He’s in pain. Yet He’s praying for
other people. When you watch what other people say and do and pray when their back is up
against the wall, it reveals what’s really inside of them. Prayer, like nothing else, is revelation of
a person. It shows what’s inside the heart. The power of the resurrection is not freedom from
problems. But the fact that I can be victorious over my problems is the power of the
resurrection. When I pray as Jesus prayed I find new insight about what God wants to do in my
life. Anybody can be positive when things are going great. But praying produces a different
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breed of people. It produces people that can handle the crisis. Like the old song that says, “Take
it to the Lord in prayer.”

10. The principle of SATISFACTION.

Luke 22:46. “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit.’
When He said this, He breathed His last.” Jesus satisfied God the Father because He did what
He was supposed to do. But more than just that, Jesus was satisfied Himself with what He had
done. Because of that – that He had satisfied the Father and He was satisfied with Himself – He
can satisfy every need that you will ever have. He said, “I’ve finished it all. It’s all complete.”
And as the verse in Romans says, if God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for us, He solved
our greatest problem there. That means any other problem is small compared to our greatest
problem of needing salvation.

11. The principle of GRATIFICATION.

Jesus expressed His gratitude for what God had done in His life. It says that when He was at the
table with them, He broke bread, He gave thanks and He broke it and began to give it to them.
He gave thanks. This is probably the one sin that is the root of so many other sins. The sin of
ingratitude. I simply want to say here that I believe our prayers should be filled with
thanksgiving. In Philippians it says, “Make your requests with thanksgiving.” When we ask, we
should also be grateful at the same time.

12. The principle of BENEDICTION.

Luke 24:50 “When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and He
blessed them.” It’s interesting to me that the very last thing Jesus did was hold His hands out
and He blessed them. He holds His hands out so they would see the scars that are in His palms.
It is no wonder that when He went to bless them and held out His scarred hands that they went
from there immediately and left to spend ten days in prayer.

When I read this verse I’m reminded of the story that Robert Schuller told me one time. A man
came running into the service and interrupted the worship service. He ran to the front and yelled,
“I am Christ. I am Christ.” Schuller, in a moment of inspiration, looked at him and said, “If
you’re Jesus Christ, then show me the nail prints in your hands.” He said that this crazy man
stopped, looked down at his hands and then collapsed to the floor where the ushers then carried
him out.

Only the one who has the scars in His hands has the ability to answer our prayers.

I hope that you’ll use this study of Jabez and the principles of Jesus from the Old and the New
Testament to encourage you to deeper your prayer life as a leader. As we close, let me ask you a
few personal questions:

For what definite thing am I praying consistently? What am I praying for that cannot be
accomplished from a human standpoint? Most of us are living lives that everything we do can be
accomplished by the power of the flesh and we wouldn’t need God’s Spirit. But God wants us to
live in such a way that we’re bound to fail unless He bails us out.
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Ask ourselves, Have I been praying in faith expecting an answer? Have I been praying with
a thankful heart? When I look at what God has been able to do with my life, with such little
prayer, I often wonder how much more He could have done if I’d been even more in tune with
Him.

As we close in this session, let me pray for you, that God would bless your life with a deeper
prayer life.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we know that prayer can do what God can do. You’ve given us the power
to tap in to Your reservoir of protection and power and Your presence just as Jabez prayed.
Cause us to be people to expect great things from You, to attempt great things for You
through our prayers. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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