Highlighted in the Bible amid a lengthy lineage of Judah’s descendants is the prayer of an otherwise innocuous man named Jabez. The short appeal to God screams for our attention by its unique position in a rather boring ancestry list. We can condense the prayer into even fewer words that can be whispered in three seconds: God, gift me, guide me, and guard me. Let’s look at what those three seconds can mean.
The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life is a book familiar to many. It was written by Bruce Wilkinson in 2000. In the book, Wilkinson encourages every Christian to invoke this prayer on a daily basis. I’ve never been very fond of scripted prayers. I’m not even totally comfortable with group recitations of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus offered it as a model prayer but not necessarily what He desires to hear repeated verbatim. Even though I prayed the prayer of Jabez a few times after reading the book, I feel like God seeks and honors outpouring from my own heart in words that I originate–a personal conversation.
I believe it is also important to start our day, the moment we awake, with a deliberate acknowledgement of dependence on our Creator. The first opening of your eyes in the morning is a moment of just you and God. Failing to immediately greet Him is like meeting your best friend without even acknowledging his or her presence.
But rising out of bed and slipping into a robe while still in a fog might not be the best time for a meaningful God-and-you conversation. Then is when a simple “God, please gift me, guide me, and guard me today” sentence prayer makes a first priority connection with the first priority in your life.
Later in the morning, during a reserved quite time or multiple pauses in activity, you can attach more detail in your own words to the three parts of the three-second prayer. For example:
- Gift me: Lord grant me wisdom and success while giving me the opportunity to speak into someone’s life and minister to them today.
- Guide me: Show me your direction for my every move and decision and let me see this world as You see it.
- Guard me: Protect me from anyone and anything that would harm me, then keep me from hurting others in any way.
A prayer-centered life with a structure something like this will help you begin to have a right heart, a right mindset, and a right relationship with the Lord and others. It will bring you joy, peace, contentment, and confidence for which God created you. Try it this week. Start it in the first three seconds of every day.
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