I remember reading and committing the Prayer of Jabez to memory when it first came out a few years ago. I prayed it faithfully everyday because, believe me, I wanted my territory to be enlarged. So, I eagerly read the next of author, Bruce Wilkinson’s series, “Beyond Jabez”, but there was a part in this best-selling book that I preferred not to touch. That was the phrase that instructed us to ask God for “somebody to help”. I was scared of that part.
What might that help entail? Where might that help have me go? Unh-unh! I couldn’t do anything too hard, or too preachy, or that was going to be too time consuming. I could send them some money or some prayers because I can stand in the prayer circle with the best of them. But send me somebody to help? This was scary stuff!
So you can imagine that when I decided to try this out, I prayed a little prayer. “Okay God, I’m going to commit to this, but I’m scared. Be gentle with me.”
The very next day I prayed the Prayer of Jabez in my car (that is my favorite place to pray, especially now that they have invented Bluetooth. You can pray, talk out loud, and it looks just like you’re talking on the phone.) This particular morning, I added the part about send me somebody to help.
Later that morning, as I was driving, or stop-and-going, along I-94, listening to my favorite Morning Show, I noticed that a bunch of looky-loos in the cars up front had slowed traffic down. What was going on?
There, on the side of the road—involved in a serious fender bender—was my co-worker, Brenda. Without thinking, I pulled off to the shoulder and parked behind the accident.
Brenda was shaking as she tried to reach her significant other on her cell phone, but the police were insisting that she talk to them. Go on, I told her. I’ll call your friend and then I’ll call work for you.
I sat in the car with Brenda and listened to her talk about the accident over and over until her friend came. She gave me a big hug and, with tears in her eyes, told me how much I had helped her by just being there. She would never forget it, she said.
The next morning, the same thing—Prayer of Jabez, stop and go traffic, listen to my morning radio soap, and rush into work without being late.
At lunchtime, I went out to the grocery store across the street for a healthy snack. After I’d paid for my purchases, I hurried back to busy MLK Drive. Traffic was zooming in both directions of the six lane street, and the greenlight was extra long. Looking around, I noticed that the stoplight had gone out. Vehicular traffic wasn’t paying attention to the lonely red stop sign that had been stuck on an obscure corner. I was going to have to walk out into the busy street and handle my business.
That’s when I noticed an old lady about 85 years old. She was stepping off the curb and then stepping back on. Stepping off, then stepping on. Dang it, I thought. This old lady is never going to get across if I don’t help her.
So I walked over to the old sister and asked if she wanted to cross with me. Others had crossed in front of her and none had offered any assistance until now. At first she was hesitant. I waited patiently while her inner debate played out on her face. I knew from the big breath she took before she nodded that she was going to say yes.
“I want to catch that bus,” she said, pointing to a bus that was already at the curb on the other side of the street. I looked at the cars whizzing by, looked up at the sky, then looked at the lady.
“Of course you do!” I croaked, as I stuck out my arm and waved for traffic to halt. Then, like a mad woman, I pulled her across while yelling like crazy for the people on the other side to hold that bus. As she was boarding, she tried to turn around and thank me, but the bus driver was not having it. He closed the doors and whisked her away.
That night as I was driving home, I held a little ‘let’s reflect’ session with myself and thought over the strange occurrences of the last two days. I had helped two people in a row. I couldn’t recall ever being that helpful before.
Then it hit me. The Prayer of Jabez. “Lord, send me someone to help”. I almost pulled the car over! “P-O-W!!” God, in His infinite wisdom, knew what I could do. He hadn’t put more on me than I could handle and what He had given me to do was meaningful to the two people I’d helped.
I could do service. I wasn’t afraid anymore. Send me somebody, “I ain’t scared.”
Illustration of old lady and chicken belongs to Mike R. Baker.