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Breaking Generational Curses Through Prayer

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BREAKING THE CHAINS OF GENERATIONAL CURSES

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

9) Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, "Because I bore him with pain." 10) 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.

THE MESSAGE BIBLE - Jabez was a better man than his brothers, a man of honor. His mother had named him Jabez (Oh, the pain!), saying, “A painful birth! I bore him in great pain!” Jabez prayed to the God of Israel: “Bless me, O bless me! Give me land, large tracts of land. And provide your personal protection—don’t let evil hurt me.” God gave him what he asked.[1]

            Recently, I read a story that both interested me and intrigued my mind; it was a story that elicited both a sense of pity and a profound sense of sorrow and sadness from my heart. It was a story that reflected the downward spiral of a young man caught in the deadly quagmire of a generational curse.

His name was Robert. You could say that Robert was born to die young. You could say that Robert was destined for failure and that his future was bleak at best. Robert’s parents divorced when Robert was just a little boy. Robert’s father worked for many years as a pimp – he was notorious for prostituting and abusing women and when Robert was at the tender age of eight (8) his father committed suicide. When Robert turned 14 years old, he started his very own street gang, which quickly came to be known for its vicious violence and horrendous crimes of hatred and brutality. At 16 years old, Robert was sentenced to two (2) years in prison for committing three (3) drive-by shootings and armed robbery. The day he left for prison, his mother was brutally murdered by a rival street gang seeking revenge. Three (3)-and-a-half- months later, his stepfather was gunned down by that same street gang. In prison, Robert was introduced to ruthless criminals worse than himself and his bent toward fighting and violence caused him to constantly be in and out of trouble.

            Someone decided to search Robert’s family tree and they discovered that Robert came from generations of folks who practiced destructive and violent behavior. Robert being younger and wiser than they, not only perpetuated this destructive behavior, but he took it to a whole new level.

            But the good news today is that unlike most, whose heritage hands them a ticking time bomb of destructive behavior that was passed down to them through their family trees, Robert discovered a way to break the generational curse that hung over his life. Because, you see at the age of 20, Robert heard the life-changing message of Jesus Christ! At the age of 20, he invited Jesus Christ to come into his life. At the age of 20, Robert heard the revolutionary news that you don’t have to stay the way you are. At the age of 20, Robert heard that there is a power somewhere that can cancel your past, a power somewhere that can conquer your problems, and a power somewhere that can change your personality. And the good news today is that Robert embraced that power – and with that new found power in his life, he was able to cut himself off from his genetic past and somehow God hooked him up with a new spiritual heritage, a new spiritual identity, and a new spiritual family tree.

            But I know what you’re thinking – Somebody right now is thinking, “PASTOR, THAT’S A REAL NICE STORY, BUT, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IN THE WORLD THAT HAS TO DO WITH ME?” I want you to know today, my brothers and sisters that everybody in here today came from and is affected by a family tree, and somebody looking at me right now, you’re still dealing with the fruit of your family tree, You’re dealing today with some negative stuff that you inherited from your momma, your daddy, your grandparents and your great grandparents.

Let me ask you a question this morning, WHAT’S ON YOUR TREE? WHAT DID YOU BRING IN HERE THIS MORNING? You might as well gone and admit it because all of us have some negative stuff in us that was passed down to us by our family tree, but instead of admitting it and owning up to it, we try to hide and deny those negative characteristics and qualities that we inherited from our family tree. You see my brothers and sisters, every family tree is loaded and laden with generational curses and so, again I ask you…WHAT’S ON YOUR TREE? WHAT LEGACY OF SIN EXISTS IN YOUR FAMILY? Is it alcoholism? Is it drug abuse? Is it sexual promiscuity? Is it physical or verbal abuse? Is it a welfare mentality? What legacy of sin has cursed the generations in your family?

            Today, in this text, we are introduced to a man named Jabez who had to deal with a generational curse in his life, but the good news today is that Jabez demonstrates for all of us how you and I can use the power of prayer to break the generational curses from our lives. NOW, LET ME GIVE YOU MY TWO POINTS RIGHT NOW AND THEN I WANT TO SPEND THE NEXT FEW MOMENTS UNPACKING EACH ONE, IS THAT ALRIGHT?

  • First, I want you to see THE CAUSE OF JABEZ’S CURSE
  • And then I want you to see THE CURE FOR JABEZ’S CURSE

First of all, let’s take a look at THE CAUSE OF JABEZ’S CURSE.

            Now, if you do an etymological study on the name JABEZ, you’ll discover that the name Jabez in the original Hebrew literally means “PAIN”, “HE CAUSES PAIN” or “HE IS PAIN.” And we discover in this text, that when Jabez was born, his mother gave him a name that would forever memorialize and identify him with pain, for she gave him the name JABEZ and the name JABEZ means pain. Now we all know that every baby is born into this world accompanied by a certain amount of pain – all of your mothers in the house this morning can testify to the fact that every baby is born with some pain. And we know from Biblical research that the pain that comes with childbirth is a direct result of the curse that God placed on mankind because of our sin in the Garden of Eden. When you get time take a look at Genesis 3:16 for in that verse God said to the woman:

"I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."   And so God placed a curse on the woman for her participation in bringing sin into the world, and that curse would be that she would have pain in childbirth.

            But what we read about Jabez in this text is more than that; we all realize this morning that all children are born with some pain, but something happened with the birth of Jabez that went far beyond the pain of natural childbirth. Usually after the child is born, the joy of the product eclipses the pain of the process – but that didn’t happen with Jabez. Somehow the mother of Jabez experienced such excruciating pain that after it was all over she memorialized the pain of the experience in the name of her son.  THEY CLEANED HIM UP, GOT RID OF ALL THE AFTERBIRTH, PUT SOME BABY CLOTHES ON HIS BACK, BROUGHT HIM TO HIS MOTHER AND SAID…”WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CALL HIM?...”, AND SHE SAID “CALL HIM PAIN!”

            Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us why she called him pain, so it gives me room to use my sanctified imagination…

  • MAYBE SHE CALLED HIM PAIN BECAUSE SHE HAD SUCH A TRAUMATIC PREGNANCY THAT SHE JUST COULDN’T FORGET IT
  • MAYBE SHE CALLED HIM PAIN BECAUSE SHE EXPERINCED THE EXCRUTIATING PAIN OF A BREECH BIRTH
  • MAYBE SHE CALLED HIM PAIN BECAUSE SHE WAS GOING THROUGH SOME KIND OF EMOTIONAL PAIN
  • MAYBE SHE CALLED HIM PAIN BECAUSE HER HUSBAND DESERTED HER DURING HER PREGNANCY
  • MAYBE SHE CALLED HIM PAIN BECAUSE HER HUSBAND WAS AN ABUSIVE MAN AND DENIED THAT THE BABY WAS EVEN HIS
  • MAYBE SHE CALLED HIM PAIN BECAUSE THEY ALREADY HAD 12 CHILDREN AND SHE JUST COULDN’T STAND THE THOUGHT OF HAVING ONE MORE MOUTH TO FEED

We don’t know for sure, only God knows, but we do know that the pain that existed in her life at the time this baby was born was so acute and so devastating that she memorialized that painful experience in the name of her son, and she called him JABEZ.

            Can you imagine what Jabez had to deal with growing up as a little boy? Every other child on the playground had normal, natural names, but his name was pain. Every time somebody called his name it was a reminder that his momma never really wanted him. He got teased and picked on at school because of his name. Nobody ever wanted to hang around him because nobody wanted to be best friends with pain.

But Jabez had to deal with not allowing his negative name to determine his future. You see, in Bible times, when parents gave their children names, the name served as a prophecy of what they would become in the future – and so Jabez’s mother prophesied that his life would be filled with pain wherever he goes, she prophesied that no matter what he did with his life, and no matter what direction he chose to go with his life, the end result would be pain. She prophesied that pain would loom over his life like a dark storm cloud casting evil and ominous shadows on a bright sunny day.  And my brothers and sisters, therein lies the curse. The text doesn’t explicitly call it a curse, but what it describes is a curse.

            Now, let me ask you a question, what are some of the curses on your tree? Some of you looking at me right now inherited spirit of anger, a bad temper, and a critical spirit. Some of you looking me right now inherited a spirit of fear and anxiety. Somebody looking at me right now inherited a lying, cheating, and stealing spirit. Some of you looking at me right now inherited a spirit of arrogance, stuck-upness, and pride, Somebody looking at me this morning inherited a gossiping and slandering tongue. Somebody looking at me right now, you inherited a player or a hoochie spirit from your family, Somebody else in this place this morning inherited a spirit of overeating…the tragedy is we don’t know how to break the curse in our lives and the curse we inherited from our tree has caused us problems all of our lives.

            Now, I want you to understand today, that what Jabez inherited was a WORD CURSE; it was a curse of words or a curse stemming from spoken words of condemnation. You do remember that Jesus walked by a fig tree one day, saw that the tree wasn’t producing any fruit and the Bible says that Jesus cursed the tree with a word curse and it withered and died. And I’ve stopped by to tell you today that just like that happened in nature, the same thing can happen in your life and in my life. We can speak word curses into people lives that literally become self-fulfilling prophecies. We can speak words of condemnation into people’s lives that can cause their dreams to dry up and their aspirations to shrivel up and die. Somebody looking at me right now is still dealing with the sting of a word curse that was spoken over and in our lives by some parent, some grand parent, some coach, some school teacher, or some co-worker on our job and all of your life you’ve been dealing with that word curse.

When they told you that…

  • YOU’LL NEVER BE ANY GOOD…
  • “YOU OL’ CRAZY FOOL
  • YOU’RE JUST LIKE YOUR NO GOOD DADDY
  • YOU GONE BE A WHORE LIKE YOUR SKANKY MAMMA…

That’s what Jabez’s mamma passed on to him, it was a word curse. And there are some folks who have put word curses on this church. You know what I’ve discovered, not everybody in the church wants to see the church grow and flourish. There are some folks in the church who don’t want to see the church engage in evangelism and win the lost to Christ. There are some folks in the church who speak word curses over the church’s efforts to grow and attract more people to the kingdom of God.

Jabez’s momma put a word curse on him by labeling him with negative name, and all of us, in one way or another, are dealing with the curse and the sting of negative labels that where passed on to us by people we loved and respected.

            I remember mine. Growing up, all my life, I’ve always had a gap in my front teeth. My friends would tell me your gap’s so big we could drive a truck through you’re mouth. They called me GAP BAND MOUTH, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, AND BUCK-TOUTH BUXTON. I would laugh and joke with them about it, but deep down inside it cut me and hurt me deeply. And it bothered me so much that a couple of years ago I went to my friend who’s a dentist in Oklahoma City and had my gap closed because I was dealing with a word curse. I was always dark-skinned growing up, especially during the summer months, because I would spend all my time outside and so by the end of July I was real, real black you know and the light skinned folk would tease me about being too black, you know they would tell me that you so black that you could close you eyes and stand outside naked at night and be invisible. And I would laugh along with them but deep down inside it cut and hurt deeply, and it cause me to deal with a word curse. I was pretty good at mathematics until about the 7th grade when I had a teacher that would make her class feel stupid for asking questions, and if you didn’t get it right the first time, she would make you feel like something was wrong with you. And so I gave up on math and struggled with it all the way through college.

            But don’t laugh at me, what’s your word curse? What is the word curse that hangs over your life? Is it something momma said or daddy said? Is it something some friend said or some supervisor or co-worker said, what’s your word curse?

And we have the audacity to quote that nursery rhyme – STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES, BUT WORDS CAN NEVER HURT ME – that’s one of the biggest lies that ever been told. That’s a lie straight from the pit of hell! WORDS CAN HURT YOU! Sometimes they can hurt more than sticks and stones. Words can effect how you view yourself. Words can mess with your psyche. Words can crush your dreams and shrivel up your aspirations. Words can hurt you so deeply that the pain lingers on for years and years. That’s why…

  • PARENTS OUGHT TO BE CAREFUL ABUT WHAT THEY SAY TO THEIR CHILDREN
  • HUSBANDS AND WIVES OUGHT TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT THEY SAY TO EACH OTHER
  • CHURCH FOLKS OUGHT TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT THEY SAY TO EAH OTHER…

But you see, in order to really understand generational curses, you’ve got to understand something about generational law. Genesis 1 gives us the principle of generational law. When you get home tonight take some time to read Genesis one because several times in Genesis one, we are told that everything reproduces after its own kind – cattle and the beasts of the field reproduced after their own kind, the vegetation reproduced after its own kind – everything reproduced after its own kind and Jesus picked up this principle over there in Matthew 7:17 & 18 when he said: "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” Listen, He’s not just talking about fruit here, he’s saying that everything reproduces after its own kind – good trees produce good fruit and bad tress produce bad fruit - whatever seeds you plant in life will determine to a large degree the kind of results you will receive in life.

You see mamma and grandmamma understood generational law. They understood well the principle that everything reproduces after its own kind. You see, that’s why you got mad at momma and grandmamma when you brought brother Tyrone to the house or sister Lucretia to the house and mamma and grandmamma start asking questions like, “NOW, WHO’S HIS DADDY? HAVE YOU MET HIS MOMMA YET?” “WHAT HIS FAMILY LIKE? DOES HIS FAMILY GO TO CHURCH?” You see they understood generational law, they understood something that many of have forgotten today and that is that “the apple don’t fall to far from the tree.”

But, oh, I came by this Sunday morning with some good news! And the good news today is you don’t have to stay the way you are! The good news today is that every generational curse on your life can be broken by the power of Jesus Christ. I wish I had time to deal with the CONTENT OF JABEZ’S PRAYER! When you get home tonight take some time to read the content of Jabez’s prayer - If I had time I’d tell you that Jabez prayed that God would bless him indeed, that word BLESS means that Jabez wanted God to shower down his goodness on his life, Jabez prayed that God would shower down his favor on his life…if I had time I’d tell you that Jabez prayed that God would enlarge his territory, Jabez prayed that God would give him more land, more territory, more influence, more ministry, Jabez looked at his life and he realized that where he was not where he wanted to be and so he prayed that the Lord would give him more than he was currently experiencing. If I had time I’d tell you that Jabez prayed that God’s hand would be on his life, Jabez understood that the one thing that distinguishes an ordinary life from an extraordinary life is the hand of God resting on that life. Jebez prayed that his life would be touched by the hand of God, and if I had time, I’d tell you that Jabez prayed that God would keep him from harm that it might not pain him, we could talk all day about the content of Jabez’s prayer, but I don’t have time to tell you all of that - what I do want you to see today is that prayer brought the cure to Jabez’s curse, the generational curse that rested on the life of Jabez was broken when Jabez went to the Lord in prayer. Look at the “A” part of verse 10, it says, “NOW JABEZ CALLED ON THE GOD OF ISREAL…”Jabez realized that the only way to break the generational curse that rested upon his life was to call on the God of Israel. In other words, Jabez looked at his life, realized that his mother had named him pain and had spoken a curse on his life, and he decided to take his generational curse to the only One who was able to break the curse from his life – Jabez decided to take it to the Lord in prayer. The text says that Jabez called on the God of Israel. Jabez called on the same God that had delivered the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Jabez called on the same God who had split open the Red Sea and allowed His people to walk over on dry ground. Jabez called on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jabez called on the same God who gave them manna in the morning, quail in the evening, water from a rock, and made the walls of Jericho come a tumblin’ down! Jabez called on the mighty, warrior God of Israel that enabled and empowered his people to defeat all of their enemies. JABEZ PRAYED AND CALLED ON THE GOD OF ISRAEL…

And the good news for you and me this morning my brothers and sisters is that the same God who broke the curse on Jabez’s life is the same God who can break every curse in our lives today! You don’t have to deal with the generational curses in your life! You don’t have to perpetuate the legacy of sin that exists in your family. Your father’s sin-problems don’t have to be your sin-problems. Your momma’s junk doesn’t have to be your junk! Just because daddy was a rolling stone and a player that don’t mean you’ve got to be one. Just because momma was an alcoholic that don’t mean you’ve got to be one. When you come to Jesus, JESUS BREAKS THE CURSE ON YOUR LIFE! JESUS CHRIST IS READY, WILLING AND ABLE TO BREAK EVERY CURSE IN YOUR LIFE! The Bible says in Gal 3:13-14 – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…,He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” The Bible says in Isaiah 53:5 – “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

But if you want the curses in your life to be broken, if you want the legacy of sin that you picked from your parents and grandparents to be broken, if you want to be delivered from the bondages of sin and Satan, then you’ve got to do exactly what Jabez did –you’ve got to humble yourself before God, admit that you don’t have it all together, admit that you need His help, and you’ve got to call on the name of the Lord in prayer to deliver you and to set you free. You’ve got to realize today that GOD IS A GOOD GOD and that whenever you call on the Name of the Lord, God will hear and answer your prayer.

As I hasten on to a close, the story is told about a group of boy scouts who were returning home from a hiking trip when they came across a big rock that was sitting right in their pathway. The rock was blocking the way home and the little boys did their very best to move the rock out of their way, but to no avail. The little boy scouts grunted and sweated and pulled, but to no avail, the rock was just too heavy and they just didn’t have the strength in and of themselves to lift that heavy rock. Just then, the boys remembered that there was somebody who standing by who could easily move that rock out of their way. Just then they remembered that they had not traveled all alone, but there was somebody standing by who had the strength to move this obstacle out of their way, and that was the scoutmaster. You see, the scout master had been watching the boys all along, and he just sat back and waited for the boys to call out his name, and they when they called him and went over and asked them, “ARE YOU HAVING ANY TROUBLE?” And they said, “YES, WE CAN’T MOVE THIS BIG ROCK OUT OF OUR WAY!” And he said, “WELL, SON, HAVE YOU USED ALL OF OUR AVAILABLE RESOURCES?” And they said, “YES, WE’VE TRIED AND TRIED AND TRIED, BUT WE JUST CAN’T MOVE THIS BIG ROCK OUT OF OUR WAY!” And the scoutmaster said, “NO YOU HAVEN’T, YOU HAVEN’T USED ALL THE RESOURCES AT YOUR DISPOSAL, OH YOU’VE TRIED TO MOVE THIS ROCK ALL BY YOURSELVES, YOU’VE TRIED TO MOVE THIS ROCK IN THE POWER OF YOUR OWN STRENGTH, BUT THERE’S ONE MORE RESOURCE YOU HAVEN’T TRIED, AND THAT IS YOU HAVEN’T CALLED THE SCOUTMASTER AND ASKED FOR HIS HELP, YOUNG MEN, WHENEVER YOU GET IN TROUBLE AND CAN’T SEEM TO FIND YOUR WAY, NEVER HESITATE TO CALL ON THE SCOUTMASTER AND ASK FOR HIS HELP, THE SCOUT MASTER IS ALWAYS THERE TO LEND A HELPING HAND!”

And my brothers and sisters, I’m so glad today, that whenever I get in trouble, whenever I’m facing a big rock of sin that’s standing in my way, that there is somebody I can call on, and his name is JESUS, JESUS is not the scoutmaster, but JESUS is the SUPREME MASTER, and I’m so glad to know today, that

  • there is no rock that Jesus can’t move,
  • there is no curse that Jesus can’t cure
  • there is no sin that Jesus can’t forgive
  • there is no bondage that Jesus can’t break
  • there is no problem that Jesus can’t solve
  • there is no sickness that Jesus can’t heal
  • there is no foe that Jesus can’t fight
  • Calling on the name of the Lord means that you invite God into your situation.
  • Calling on the name of the Lord means that you do like grandmamma did and say “FATHER, I STRETCH MY HANDS TO THEE, NO OTHER HELP I KNOW, IF THOU WILT DRAW THYSELF FROM ME, WHETHER SHALL I GO.”
  • CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD MEANS THAT YOU…
    • ADMIT YOU INADEQUACIES AND EMBRACE HIS ADEQUACY
    • ADMIT YOUR POWERLESSNESS AND EMBRACE HIS POWER
    • ADMIT YOUR WEAKNESSES AND EMBRACE HIS STRENGTH
    • OWN UP TO YOUR SHORTCOMINGS AND YOU DEPEND ON HIS FAITHFULNESS

JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN BREAK THE GENERATIONAL CURSES ON YOUR LIFE – JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DELIVER YOU FROM THE LAGACY OF SIN THAT EXIST IN YOUR FAMILY SET YOU FREE, THE BIBLE SAYS “HE WHOM THE SON SETS FREE IS FREE INDEED! God has the power, but do you have the faith?


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[1]Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. 1 Ch 4:9-10

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