Book Review -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 08:1 (Jan 2002)
Article: Book Review
Author: Anonymous

Book Review

The Prayer of Jabez, by Bruce Wilkinson (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2000). Hardcover $9.99. 93 pages.1 Reviewed by Dr. John C. Beck, Jr.

The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson has been on the market for two years and the publisher’s web site says that it has sold over 9,000,000 copies. This phenomenal distribution has generated a cottage industry of Jabez paraphernalia. Though a small book, it is now available in a leather edition, teen edition, woman’s edition, kid’s edition, little one’s edition, and gift edition. Moreover, there is a devotional, journal, Bible study, and video curriculum available. To complete the Jabez “stuff” collection, there is the 16½” × 78” fringed Jabez Prayer Shawl with woven bands of blue and gold with the prayer appearing in the weave pattern.2 With such a success in publishing and merchandising any author risks becoming a “target” by those who wish they had come up with the idea first. The critics, however, have only themselves to blame. Apparently, they failed to pray the prayer of Jabez:

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
“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!”
So God granted him what he requested
(1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV)

In the preface Wilkinson tells the reader,

I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God always answers…. This petition has radically changed what I expect from God and what I experience every day by His power.

There is no doubt that this prayer has changed the life of Bruce Wilkinson and the lives of thousands who have read his testimony and applied these principles to their own lives. However, before delving into this book, it is important to remember that the Lord has described mankind in terms of sheep. Sheep are easily led. When an author offers the promise of “a daring prayer that God always answers,” it is important at the beginning not to mislead the sheep with the impression that God is a heavenly “short order cook.” Since this reviewer is not writing a book on prayer, let me say once that the answer to prayer is not always “yes.” Sometimes the answer to prayer is “no” or “wait.” Wilkerson includes this fact later in the book, but the damage is done. The reader has been misled and might miss a caveat, or a condition to prayer, casually mentioned later on in the bo...

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