Because God is perfectly holy it is impossible for us, in our sinful and fallen state, to see Him as He is. We can only know Him through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, our Savior. And it is only in the name of His Son that we can come before His Throne with our prayers and petitions.
The Israelites had committed a terrible sin. During Moses’ absence, they had forged a golden calf and had begun worshiping it. Although Moses was enraged by their idolatry, he also pled with God to spare them from the fullness of His just wrath. Because Moses was a righteous and humble man his prayer was heard and answered.
There is a twofold use of prayer: the one, to obtain strength and blessing for our own life; the other, the higher, the true glory of prayer, for which Christ has taken us into His fellowship and teaching, is intercession, where prayer is the royal power a child of God exercises in heaven on behalf of others and even of the kingdom. (Adapted from Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer)
This well-known prayer has many interpretations. One theme that is undeniable, however, is that Jabez recognized that he lived in a fallen world and asked God to protect him and to keep him from becoming ensnared by the sin around him. This is a prayer we should offer regularly so that temptation will not overtake and destroy us.
It would have been better if Hezekiah had accepted God’s pronouncement. God granted him another fifteen years of life, during which time his son Manasseh was born – a man whose wickedness was so great that he was called an “abomination before the Lord.” Do not be afraid to accept God’s decrees. While your human desires may be granted they will never be superior to God’s perfect plan.
God wants us to bring our petitions to Him – regardless of their size and scope. Sometimes, like with Isaac, He answers immediately; sometimes He delays until the timing is perfect; sometimes He responds by not responding. Regardless, our joyful task is to bring our needs to Him daily and to regularly seek His will.
Faith and prayer select the subjects for petition, thereby determining what God is to do. Christ holds Himself ready to supply exactly, and fully, all the demands of faith and prayer. If the order on God be made clear, specific and definite, God will fill it, exactly in accordance with the presented terms. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Genuine, authentic faith must be definite and free of doubt. Not simply general in character; not a mere belief in the being, goodness, and power of God, but a faith which believes that the things which He says will come to pass. As faith is specific, so the answer likewise will be definite. Faith and prayer select the things, and God commits Himself to do the very things which faith and persevering prayer nominate, and petition Him to accomplish. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Many scholars view this verse as the first in Scripture to mention prayer. More accurately it is the first example of people collectively worshiping their Creator. At this early stage in human history, men and women were already divided according to their faithfulness to God. Nothing has changed in the ensuing millennia – offering up daily prayers is a witness and demonstration of devotion to the Lord.