Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 159:633 (Jan 2002)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

by The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary

Matthew S. DeMoss, Editor

The Prayer of Jabez. By Bruce Wilkinson. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2000. 93 pp. $9.99.

Based on a brief, little-known prayer in the Old Testament, The Prayer of Jabez has become a publishing phenomenon. It has appeared at the top of several best-seller lists for many weeks, including USA Today, the New York Times, and Publishers Weekly. The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association selected the book as the 2001 Book of the Year and honored it with the prestigious Gold Medallion Book Award. As of October 2001 the web site reported a sales figure of almost nine million copies, astonishingly remarkable for any Christian book.

The publisher has released several companion volumes, including The Prayer of Jabez for Little Ones, The Prayer of Jabez for Children, The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, The Prayer of Jabez Journal, and The Prayer of Jabez Devotional. Paraphernalia on the Jabez prayer include coffee mugs, calendars, paperweights, plaques, key rings, and bookmarks. Even a compact disc with seven “Jabez songs” has been produced. Because of the book’s unusual sales volume, several high profile periodicals—including the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and Time—have released review articles.

Jabez’s prayer appears in a brief biographical vignette in the genealogical lists of 1 Chronicles. Only two verses focus on this up-to-now little-known man with his four requests. “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, ‘Because I bore him with pain.’ Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!’ And God granted him what he requested” (1 Chron. 4:9–10).

The book has encouraged many Christians to renew their prayer life, to look for ways to serve the Lord more devotedly, to awaken from a complacent Christian life, to share their faith more openly, to rely on God’s power to work unexpectedly, to withstand temptation vigorously, and to depend more fully on the Lord. Wilkinson testifies of the blessings he has experienced after praying this prayer. And he reports the experiences of others who have done the same. Even some weekly tabloids have reported alleged benefits enjoyed by individuals who have prayed this prayer.

This reviewer hesitates to criticize a runaway best-sel...

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