Dreaming Big and the Prayer of Jabez

by: Larry Davies | Jan 26, 2011
Diane Sawyer, co-anchor for the television program, “Good Morning America” gave an interview for the 60th anniversary Guidepost issue and talked about a Junior Miss Competition and meeting Catherine Marshall, the famous author.
Expecting just a last minute pep talk, Diane was not prepared for what Catherine had to say: “You have set goals for yourselves but I don’t think you have set them high enough. I think you should take those goals and expand them. Think of the most you could do with your lives. Make what you do matter. Above all, dream big.” (Mar 2005)
Diane took her message to heart and has learned to dream big but what about the rest of us? Will God help us set higher goals and learn to dream big? Has your church learned to dream big?
“Larry, I have a stressful schedule and work too hard already? What more can God expect?”
Dreaming big has nothing to do with stress or work habits. Here is the question: “Do you believe God can do big things through you and your church? Are you seeking to fulfill God’s purpose?”
Several years ago, our church studied “Prayer of Jabez” a book by Bruce Wilkinson about a virtually unknown Bible character named Jabez. Bruce found these verses in 1 Chronicles of the Bible:
Oh, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory that Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
Many lives were changed as our church took the “Prayer of Jabez” challenge asking God to “enlarge our territory.” One example of God’s answer came within a few months when we found ourselves sharing facilities with a church destroyed by a tornado. The unique relationship forged between our two congregations, white, black, Baptist and Methodist created many unique ministry experiences and resulted in our community building Lawyers Road Missionary Baptist Church.
I didn’t know the Prayer of Jabez but I’ve prayed many times for God to enlarge my territory:
  1. Years ago while in business, I wanted to do more: I meant owning my own company but God had other ideas. Within months I left the business world to become a minister.
  2. While going through a divorce, I asked God: Why did you call me into the ministry only to lose my marriage? God then led me to form a divorce recovery and singles ministry.
  3. When serving three small churches: I asked God for help reaching more people. Within weeks, I was writing a weekly column now published in newspapers and the internet.
  4. When bombarded with hundreds of prayer needs on our website, far more than I could handle, I asked for God’s help and formed a prayer ministry with over 6,000 partners.
  5. When praying for a Christmas project, a family called asking for help providing Christmas for their family. The next year, “Christmas Parents” provided gifts for over 500 children.
  6. One year I prayed for another major project for our church and within weeks I was offered the opportunity to fly to Sri Lanka and help the town of Kalmunai rebuild.
Catherine Marshall said to Diane Sawyer: “Think of the most you could do with your lives. Make what you do matter. Above all, dream big.” God can do big things through you and your church.
For thirty days, I challenge you to join me in dreaming big and ask God to enlarge your territory: “Oh, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory that Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” Here is what I predict:
  1. You will have your life and purpose stretched far beyond what you ever imagined.
  2. Some of you will make radical life changing decisions over the next few months.
  3. Most of you will see a clear example of God working within your daily life.
  4. Your church will become more of a leader and an example within your community.
  5. Your church will take on at least one new special project through God’s leading.
  6. Your church will also begin to grow as you continue to make a difference for God.

Will you join me in “dreaming big” and take the “Prayer of Jabez” thirty day challenge?


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