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Mike you wrote:

“Why do you pray? How do you pray? What should we pray? Does God want us to pray? Did Jesus pray? Should we model Jesus in praying?”

I have concluded at this time in my life that prayer for me is communicating with God, both listening and speaking. Praying should be more about listening then rattling off my laundry list to God for the things I think I need but in reality are wants. I hope my prayers are from the depths of my heart and not some ritual. I desire true intimacy, a relationship that is substantive, and not just talking to be talking.

Because my delimitation of prayer is “communicating with God,” and God knows my needs even before I do, I want to hear from God what He wants me to do. Jesus’ heard from His Father in his time of prayer and he always spent time with God right before something big was about to happen. May I strive to model my Lord and Saviors’ behavior.

I Chronicles 4:5-5:17
Since my habit ‘till a year ago was to read thorough the first eleven chapters of I Chronicles, like I read through the beginning of Numbers and Ezra, going 100 miles per hour, I don’t really remember when Jabaz’s prayer stopped me in my tracks, but it did. It was like hitting a speed bump going 60 on a wide opened highway then suddenly seeing this thing, this bump pop up in the road ten feet ahead. I figuratively flew in the air.

Every time I come to this section, I see something I’ve never seen before and am always amazed by the depth of this text. I’ve come to realize that Jabaz’s name is my name, is everyone on this board’s name. We all have been conceived in pain and scarred by the names given to us. Names like: You’re no Good, Just Like Your Father, Stupid, Dumb, Ugly, Why Don’t’ You Act Like Your Brother/Sister, and the names go on. These names define who we are from our childhood, reining us in and keeping us confined to the valley of despair and limited potential.

Jabaz, I believe, was more honorable than his brothers because he asked God to remove the limitations placed upon him so that he could be what God had called him to be and not what men told him he was.

I love how the Amplified translates this passage:

9 Jabez was honorable above his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez [sorrow maker], saying, Because I bore him in pain.

10 Jabez cried to the God of Israel, saying, Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and You would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me! And God granted his request.

Acts 25:1-27

I just realized the ruling officials of the day were also the judges. I’ve read this many times, but never noticed the political leaders having the dual role of judge and ruler. So Paul’s admonishment to Timothy (1 Tim. 2:1-3),

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

Now has greater weight and depth of meaning because I realize these political leaders weren’t just politicians that could be voted out of office. They were appointed to carry out government business, oversee the citizens and inhabitants as well as judge their behavior and actions at trial.

I wonder what that would look like today in the USA if our elected officials ran the courts.

Psalm 5:1-12

Although using different words and more of them, David, like Jabaz, is asking God to remove the boundaries that have placed him in danger. Hmm, maybe God has already removed those boundaries, maybe we just need the vision to see past the cardboard walls and flimsy fences, smoke and mirrors the devil, and folk have built around us.

Proverbs 18:19

I went looking for the Hebrew word translated “offended” or “offend” in this passage and the primary English usage is not offend or offended but transgress and transgressor (26 times). Offend or offended is translated only once and it is in this verse. [Pasha` to rebel, transgress, revolt—Strong’s Number 06586]. This is not some little bit of rudeness or terse remark; this is a major breech or violation against another person. So I’m not so sure that this verse is saying not to allow an offence or slight to break up a relationship so much as it is a warning stating, “Don’t sin against a brother or close friend”. I will have to explore and study this further.

Grace and peace,

I know this is the toughest time of the bible study. The cares of the world during summer break get in the way but don't let them. Be diligent. Do not give up. God bless you all

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