"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..."
So God granted him what he requested.
1 Chronicles 4:10 (NKJV)
I've read this prayer plenty of times before. One of the kids has a children's board book of the same name. But yesterday I got one of those "forwards" in my inbox insisting I pray this and mail it on to 12 people, etc. I didn't forward it. Sorry. I did pray it, and prayed for the person who sent it, figuring they could use the prayers. It didn't end there though. For some reason this time when I revisited the prayer, I kept getting hung up on the "enlarge my territory" part. It seemed a very selfish thing to pray for. So finally, as I do often when something is stumping me, I googled it. I found the passage in 1 Chronicles, read a little more about Jabez and the life he had. And it came to me that it is not selfish at all if our intentions are to use this gift for His purposes and His will. Jabez was asking for more land for his cattle, more opportunity to build on his reputation. Jabez may have realized that he could do more for God with more land. That's the catch. We must be living (or attempting to live) the life that God calls us to.
I 'spose an examination would be in order of how our current "territories" are being used for His purpose, and then wonder if asking for more is something we want for ourselves, or for the greater good. If we are up to the challenge of going outside our comfort zone to commit the work of our territory to the glory of God, then by all means, we should be asking. And not be so surprised when he grants our request.