I have been writing for the Facebook magazine “Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond” for nearly two months. At the beginning of the month, Lore has been setting up the themes for the month to give us topics on which we might want to write. For the end of November, she set up the theme of “Miracles”.. I thought, “I have talked about my eyesight miracle, my late fiance and his connections, and my Grandma and a few other things so much recently on my Facebook profile that I don’t want to write about those for the magazine. I can’t think of any other miracles.” I thought that all month and then suddenly because of a Facebook post I saw, that thought pattern changed.
A few minutes ago I saw a post on the Facebook page “Daily Fillmore” about the Prayer of Jabez and it reminded me of a miracle in my life. No, let’s get real here. I only found the post because I was scrolling through some posts by Rev. Lynn O’Dell to catch up on what she has been doing (something I do periodically with one or two friends when I “suddenly” realize I haven’t seen any posts lately). Among her posts, I saw one thanking people for the “likes” on the Daily Fillmore page. Then I realized I have not seen much on that page lately, so I went to it. On the top post was the one about “Prayer of Jabez.” This was not something I had ever heard talked about in a Unity church and then was reminded about my history with that prayer. I started typing a response comment that stated how this prayer once miraculously changed my life and then realized that it was too long to be a comment ant that instead I had a magazine post. This is now what I share with you in the hope that it will be a way that you might find your miracle.
First, I went to Bible Gateway.com to find the version of the prayer as I remembered it. Several version don’t have the part for me that was most important, as I remembered it…”that I may cause no evil”. I finally found one that was close.
The prayer from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 in the New King James Version of the bible reads: “9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez,[a] saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 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.”
The book “Prayer of Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson (2000), this prayer, and a study of this short, but very intense prayer, turned my life around several years ago. I had just finished a four-week study of it at Spirit Life Church and was taught by Jeanine Rondone, where I was a member at the time, and I was going into a third interview for a position at a church to be a “hands-on bookkeeper/business manager,” a job I was not sure I really wanted or that I was really “supposed” to be doing. I was the writer, not the accounting person. It didn’t matter that I had been in a position of business manager in my job duties for just over a year before that, after starting as the communications administrative assistant. I molded into the position after the business manager who I worked under left, I said I had time that I thought I could dedicate to the job, and the church couldn’t afford to hire a new full-time person so it just didn’t “feel” like a business manager position. I know I had it on my resume and knew I had the qualifications to do the job and loved the people with whom I had had the other two interviews; I just wasn’t sure it was really a job I “should” be doing. As I pulled up to the curb of the new church where I now was applying for a , I prayed, “God, I know I just finished this class about expanding my territory, but this is really a stretch. If you really want me doing this, you need to give me some sign because you and I both know that numbers and money are not really my forte’.” As I reached to turn off the key to the car, the song “Prayer of Jabez” came on the radio. I started crying and then quickly had to pull myself together because the window the the front office of the rectory faced the street and I needed to look professional when I went to the door and I needed to get out of my car soon. I knew as I walked to the door that I had the job and I went it with confidence knowing it was where I was supposed to be. I was correct; that third interview was a formality in which I met the pastor and the two board members I had not met before. I walked out the door with an offer.
I really had to learn the job because there was more accounting than bookkeeping and I had been away from that since college. On top of it, when I learned accounting, it was with paper and a pencil and now it was on computer and everything seemed backward to me. To this day, I am amazed about that job. After three years in the position, I was really struggling. I and the pastor agreed I should resign, yet there was a mutual agreement that I would continue to work the job until a new person was hired or I got another job, whichever came first. That three years turned into five when the position was finally eliminated because of a four-parish merger and I was not the one chosen to stay with the new parish. Several candidates were interviewed for my position and none were hired. I kept looking for a job and the only ones that were available seemed to be n bookkeeping and I did not want to stay in that field, especially since my boss would not give me a good recommendation for that type of work. I wanted to go back to general office or communications–the type of job my boss was very willing to recommend me for. However, it opened the door for me to start school to prepare to get into the sign language interpreter training program.
As I hunted for the song, and found several versions that were not was I wanted. They were different from the powerful one that was playing on the radio back then. I remember that I had purchased a CD several years ago that called “Prayer of Jabez” that had eight or ten versions of songs by that same name and none of them were what I wanted. I know somehow that almost anything I want these days can be found on the internet so I become determined to find what I wanted. I “landed” on a video interview of Bruce with Jentezen Franklin at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pZpJDI33dc&feature=fvsr. I wanted to go back to my hunt, yet I was drawn to listen to the 28:31-minute interview in its entirety. It was at the 19:36-minute mark that I discovered why. There were two additional things that came to mind. In that interview, Jentezen talked about a third Scripture verse that he read in Revelation 3:8: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”
Jentezen asked if we were ready to say, “Here I am, Lord. Take me.” That song has another entire miracle for me that I may talk about some other time. Suffice it to say that I was at a healing service the first time I heard that song and stopped at the church to find out the name of that song so I could take it back to my church. When I got home, my choir director presented that song for us to learn. That song has become the “theme” song of the Prayer Chaplain program for Unity Church and it causes me to get teary-eyed every time I hear it because I know I am opening myself to whatever God has for me.
Because I listened to that inner voice, that I call “God’s voice,” there were many other things that happened in my life. I met wonderful people who taught me more about the religion of my upbringing than I learned in all of my years in a Catholic school. I learned the meaning and the history behind some of the rituals from the pastor and from the pastoral associate. I found a Catholic church where the priest was not this person who was just at church. By this time, though, I was no longer worshipping in a Catholic church and had found a new direction to building my own relationship with God in a bible-based, tongue-speaking, Christian church (don’t get me wrong, I had not embraced the tongue-speaking prayer yet and since then I have changed to a Unity Church for weekly worship services). Because I asked and listened to the answer about accepting the job, I was in a position that extended beyond what it was “supposed” to and to the perfect amount of time that I needed to open the next door of my life.
As all of this was revealed to me, I was reminded of another scripture verse that kept showing up around the time that I “resigned” from that second church job. It was Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It showed up in a Sunday lesson, it was given to me on a that was gifted to me by the music minister at Spirit Life, and the card that I received from the staff with a “going away gift” also had it on the front.
As I listened to the interview, I realized that I have been asking God to expand my business for me; however, I don’t think I have been going about it in the “right” way. I have not told God that I was actually “ready” to receive more business. Because of the reminder of this simple prayer and the additional bible verses, I am going to start again with my prayers to expand my business and for the help I need to get through my sign language interpreting school. I also realized over the years that when I get something three times, I MUST listen and pay attention to it. As the Robert Frost poem “Road Less Travel” (as that job form e was a new road, a new adventure), “I took the road less travelled…and that has made all of the difference.”
As I look back on those years and remember them, I know how my life was changed. I look at these three pieces now and know that I was just handed another miracle if I am ready and willing to receive it. So, I say, “Yes, God, once again, please expand my territory, I am ready for it. I know that your plans are that I may prosper and that I will be protected. Therefore, all fear of that expansion are being removed as I type this. I will receive whatever plans you have for me and I will not fear them for you will find a way.”
I have been saying recently that God has been giving me “messages” for others and that I have not been hearing many for me. I know that this is not a coincidence, that it is as I call it, a God-stance that I just created this blog and this writing. I know that I was just given something greater than I could have done unto my own power and that it was spirit powered and that as I started this writing…”I will never be the same.”
OK, God, I still need to find that version of the song that I so loved back then. Please help me find it so I can close this blog. Guess what, the very next video I opened was one that had not shown up before and it the exact one I want and it took five seconds of hearing it to tell that. It is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X85bgGKOc8.
Thank you, God, for the miracle of remembering and giving me a message I have been seeking. I was reminded yesterday when I talked to Katie Barbieri who is in ministerial school to become a Licensed Unity Teacher and ultimately a Unity minister that gratitude is the fifth piece of prayer. She was saying at the time that she wished she had had her notebook with because the other four were not easily coming to her so she could teach the children. I said to her “I don’t think it matters. Maybe you could just teach the kids that if they have nothing else to pray when they sit down in their prayer time, then they should do a prayer of gratitude rather than making it the final part of a prayer.” I think about even how profound that was in connection with all of this and how I have been sitting down to pray myself sometimes and not really having anything to pray about. In reality, I have so much to be thankful for, including this miracle that I need to just be praying “thank you” sometimes.
I am going to stop this blog and go take a few minutes of prayer before I post it. I also need to let the tears stop so I can spellcheck and re-read what just came from my spirit so it makes sense before I share it with anyone else. “-) However, I have discovered that anytime I have typed from spirit in the past, there are no typos and it simply amazes me.
…and so it is.