abez. It means pain. Ironically, that's the last thing the author and publisher of The Prayer of Jabez are feeling. The book has sold nearly five million copies in less than a year and topped the New York Times advice bestseller list. Because of its success, the actual prayer of Jabez can be found on everything from T-shirts to posters to bumper stickers. What started out as a book by Bruce Wilkinson is turning into a movement.
Now the heart-stirring message of Jabez has been translated into different cup-, pint- and quart-sized portions just for kids: The Prayer of Jabez for Kids, designed for ages 8-12, The Prayer of Jabez for Little Ones (ages 2-5), and coming this fall, The Prayer of Jabez for Young Hearts (ages 4-8) and The Prayer of Jabez Devotions for Kids (ages 8-12).
The Prayer of Jabez for Kids delves a little deeper into issues related to an often overlooked character in the Bible named Jabez. If you haven't heard of him before, you're not alone. He's easy to miss, because in the entire Bible, he's only mentioned once. I Chronicles 4:9-10 records Jabez and his short, four-lined, four-request prayer that might look selfish at first glance. But Wilkinson believes that it's a recipe for the young and old to do something "big" for God. With seven fast reading chapters and age appropriate art, Wilkinson explains how God wants to bless his young readers not necessarily with material possessions but with lasting blessings. He challenges readers to "live big" for God, recognize God's helping hand in their lives and avoid temptation. His prescription for young readers is to pray the prayer of Jabez every day for family, friends and the church, reread the little book once a week for 30 days and record what happens. While Wilkinson never intended the book or prayer to become a lucky rabbit's foot, he hopes that it will change the way people think about their relationship with God.
Reflecting on the short biblical passage, it's no wonder that it took a few thousand years for Jabez and his prayer to become famous. But who would have guessed that the mention of a guy named "pain" would ever become this big?Margaret Feinberg is a freelance writer and ski instructor in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.