In the midst of the genealogies of 1 Chronicles, God interrupts the listing to make a comment about one man, Jabez, whose name means affliction.

1 Chronicles 4:9  And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
10  And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
 
God calls Jabez more honorable than his brothers.
In what way was he honorable? What great acts did he do to deserve commendation?
Well, God says Jabez made a list of his three biggest desires in life. He wanted the borders of his country enlarged; he wanted God's hand to be with him; and he wanted to be kept from harm.
Jabez made this list and asked God to do them.
 
How did God react? Did he yell at him for being selfish? Did he tear up the list and inform Jabez that he had no intention of being used as a cosmic bellboy?
 
The Scripture says simply: "And God granted that which he requested."
 
God said yes to Jabez because what Jabez did was an action that makes faith alive and productive. He took stock of his current needs and desires, and asked God to fulfill them. 
 
The action that he took? He made a list.
 
Write out a list of what you'd like to be doing or to have accomplished in the next three months if resources were no problem. Resources include money, time, change in people's attitudes, whatever.
 
Do you want to be out of debt, or have a new better paying job, or have a gadget that fascinates you?
 
Making a list of your needs or desires requires that you make some decision.
 
Making a list helps you focus on God rather than your needs.
 
Making a list opens your eyes to see God at work.
 
Make sure your list isn't edited. (Editing is God's work, not yours. See items 2 and 5 below.)
 
Open your list to God.
 
  1. If you pray and get an answer, stop praying and thank God.
     
  2. If you pray and then some idea on your list seems silly or you get a continued uneasiness in your heart about it, stop praying and scratch it off the list. God is saying No or beginning to lead you to an alternative.
     
  3. If you pray and your heart continues to be burdened about the matter, keep on praying: God is leading.
     
  4. If you pray and get peace, stop praying, the answer will come in God's timing.
     
  5. If you've prayed for some time and you still get no answer, stop and evaluate. Maybe God wants your prayer to be more specific. Maybe God isn't answering because you haven't specified just what you want Him to do ... or maybe you need to ask for a particular timing, to tell God when you'd like it done.
     
God is a Giver with unlimited resources which He longs to share with you. The faith you need to start receiving those resources will come alive as you give your faith a focus. Sit down and make a list of your needs and desires. Make it specific and make it complete. Then open it to God and let Him edit it and fulfill it so you can start seeing your faith come alive.
 

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