At last count, a little book entitled The Prayer of Jabez has sold about 50 bazillion copies, and it’s still on top of the best seller lists. (OK, it’s actually about 5 million, but the bazillion sales target should kick in any day now.) Not only that, now author Bruce Wilkinson has a follow-up book — it’s the one with the green cover — also on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time. Who does he think he is, John Grisham?
In a spirit of true Christian generosity, the publishing industry has decided to fulfill every Jabez-related desire of the marketplace. So now you can purchase a leather-bound copy of The Prayer of Jabez — a real “expansion of territory” if there ever was one. You can also buy Jabez plaques, mugs, coasters, coins and more. I have no doubt that many more merchandising opportunities are just around the corner: Jabez software, desk sets, commemorative plates. (Oops. Actually I think the commemorative plates are already on sale at your local Christian book & stuff store.)
Any day now there will be a The Prayer of Jabez for Kids book available through the catalogs. (Personally, I’m holding out for the video where Veggie Tales’ Bob and Larry pray the prayer of Jabez and find their territory expanded through a takeover of Disney.) One day soon we’ll pull into the golden arches and have a “Prayer of Jabez” toy tucked into the Happy Meal bag.
If you can’t create your own bandwagon, jump on someone else’s, and this is just too good to pass up. Across America, people are trying to figure out how to hitch their wagon to the Jabez phenomenon. Being a person of great integrity and high moral values, I personally wouldn’t dream of getting involved in such a thing — unless, of course, there’s a whole lot of money involved (At least a bazillion or two). So I’m trying to figure out just what to do to plug into the territorial expansion aspect of this spiritual/literary/cultural event.
Initially, I started looking for other Old Testament figures on which I could base a small book that would sell lots of copies. I thought about the “Prayer of Lot’s Wife” (which goes something like “Aagghh!”), the “Prayer of Jonah” (“Oh, Lord, it stinks in here! Please get me out.”), or the “Prayer of Solomon” (“Dear Lord, if I’m so smart, how did I end up getting married to all these women?”)
I finally decided it would be best to go with what I know: sermons. So I am now working on my own short book with words in large type, entitled The Sermon of Jabez. (Notice how I cleverly got that Jabez name into the title, which will help it show up in searches on amazon.com.) My book will recount the little-known sermon which Jabez preached at the First Community Church of Judah just after praying his now-famous prayer. It will stress that even persons from a dysfunctional family (what would you call a home where the mother names a boy “Pain”) can overcome and become successful, perhaps even writing a short book that will sell bazillions of copies.
Feel free to contact me about the movie rights, but be warned: I’m holding out for Mel Gibson as the lead.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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