Name Change

Remember a few years ago when the “Jabez prayer” became super popular? If you do, do you wonder why the buzz faded? This very cool portion of Scripture that was so neatly tucked inside a list of names that are hard to pronounce is still there…even though it isn’t quoted as often as in recent history.

Just a refresher, and perhaps a brand new introduction to those who are not familiar with Jabez: he basically cried out for somewhat of a name change. Names at that time were given for more than just trying to sound cute and different. They held meaning. His mother had borne him in pain, so she named him something that relatively meant “He will cause pain.” (That just makes me curious if she bore her other children without pain…just saying.)

I wonder if she realized that what she called him in a moment of feeling would be attached to him throughout his lifetime. I wonder if she thought hard about how she was labeling her child. I wonder if we realize that the way we speak to and about our children becomes the burden they must carry.

“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.”

We could dissect every portion of this, and I encourage you to do so. However, this morning I desire to highlight the fact that he didn’t accept how he was labeled. Not only did he not accept it, but also he was honorable enough to handle it the right way: prayer. It is not recorded that he pouted and rebelled against his mother. All we know is that he cried out to God for help. And God answered.

How has life defined you? What label have you felt somewhat obligated to live up to, regardless of if it was your choice or not? You have a choice: prayer. It may be time for a name change.

Lord, I love the way You are able to take our past and throw it into the sea of forgetfulness and give us a new identity. I love that I am a new creation in Christ. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Genesis 17:3-16

Genesis 32:24-32

Micah 7:19

2 Corinthians 5:17

Ecclesiastes 7:1

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