How large are your prayers? How imaginative? The Bible tells us that God can and will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. No matter how big we ask or how great our imagination, God offers more. Is this a generic promise for every situation and circumstances, or is there more to the more?
Years ago, a name-it-claim-it faith-movement began asking God for outrageous things. They believed that quoting the right Bible verse would compel God to respond with mansions, Mercedes, and money. I’m not advocating the return of such thinking, but neither do I desire to diminish the Word of God. What God says, He means.
My editor and I discussed the following portion of Scripture in Ephesians, which I’ve quoted in a soon to be published 30-day devotional workbook on prayer.
“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!”
Ephesians 3:20-21 TPT
Though many Bible versions word these opening lines as God being able, this translation says, “He will.” When does the “He is able” shift to “He will.” When do we know the prayer initiative, or spiritual battle, is over and the answer forthcoming?
God Who Can
Though some people of faith question God’s ability, most Christians grasp the concept of God’s power to do anything He desires, anyway He wants, any time He chooses. Defining words for God include Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. The prefix “omni” simply means “all, completely all, or universally all.” No one or nothing justifiably lays claim to “omni” — only God. He alone is All Knowing, All Present, and All Powerful. God, being nothing less than God, puts to rest the question of His ability.
“God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds don’t burst with the weight . . . covers the face of the moon, shrouding it with his clouds. He created the horizon when he separated the waters; he set the boundary between day and night. The foundations of heaven tremble; they shudder at his rebuke. By his power the sea grew calm. By his skill he crushed the great sea monster. His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent. These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then can comprehend the thunder of his power?”
The same God who created all things by the word of His mouth, a mere “whisper of His power,” lives and reigns supreme today. He always will. Kings come and go, rulers rise and fall, but God endures forever. As believers, we attest to God’s omnipotence! He alone is All Powerful! He does immeasurably more! When the “whisper of His power” rises beyond our comprehension, how much more the “thunder of his power?”
God Who Will
Knowing God can answer our prayer and that God will answer prayer rest almost opposite one another. It is possible to live our entire Christian existence knowing only the God who can — the God who is able.
A leper bridged the gap between “can” and “will.”
“A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Notice his choice of words. He knew beyond a doubt God could do immeasurably more than he asked or dreamed. The point of uncertainty lay in Jesus’ willingness. How many of us approach Jesus in prayer the same way? We know He can. Beyond a doubt, we believe He is capable. But faith falters at will He?
God desires that all people confess Jesus as Lord and Savior and enter eternal communion with Him. However, many reject His offer. In that choice, they sentence themselves to eternal separation from God’s Presence — His life, joy and peace. God also desires healing for everyone, yet we witness healing sometimes and not others. The why remains a mystery understood by Him alone.
The same words Jesus spoke to the leper, He speaks to you and me.
“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!'”
In an instant, the leper’s faith leaped forward, landing steadfast on Jesus’ words, “I am willing.”
God is God
The essence of prayer rests in relationship. We may come with raised voices, speaking with authority, and demanding our way, but God remains unfazed. God is God; He takes orders from no one. In the place of communion with Him, we gain His ear and hear His heart.
When we approach Him, in reverence and awe, based on access gained only through Jesus Christ, He welcomes us to lean into Him and speak the desires of our hearts. Then as we press close, asking His will and perfect desire on the matter, He will speak. While waiting, seeking, and listening for His sovereign directive, He will make His ways known.
Though I’ve witnessed many miraculous interventions, resulting from God’s response to prayer, I’ve also heard Him say, “Not now, Little One.” At other times, His silent comfort speaks, “No.” At these times, faith digs deep and trust grasps hold of His loving hand. Here in the painful waiting or in prayers answered in ways least desired, the yielded heart knows He accomplishes His “immeasurably more” along paths unfamiliar to us.
“The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
His immeasurably more sails upon the winds of His goodness, grace, and “tender mercies.”
As we pray, seeking His will for a situation, we listen — anticipating his whispered, “Yes.” When we hear the utterance, everything shifts. Without visible evidence, the deep knowledge of hearts aligned with the Father’s will, propels lightning force prayers with pin-point accuracy into spiritual domains. No holding back — God whispered, “I am willing!”
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Boldness rises, pure and submitted, without pride or presumption. When God speaks His, “Yes,” it is only a matter of time before the results become visible. We know with God’s “Yes,” He already released the provision, He already canceled the cancer, He already redeemed the lost, He already restored the relationship, and rebuilt the broken. The tangible only needs to catch up to the spiritual. His mercy and grace pours earthward.
God’s “immeasurably more” abides in the twin realities of His written Word, the Logos or the Bible, and His spoken word, the rhema. I once heard someone compare the Logos to a deep fresh well. Then God gives us the bucket called rhema with which we draw the water.
It’s not what we know, but Who that makes the difference. Attempting to manipulate Scripture to control God to meet our whims accomplishes nothing. When we know and approach Jesus Christ, our Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient Lord, with humility everything changes. We can trust Him to be continuously working everything for His divine purpose and our eternal good.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
So when we don’t have answers, we still know Someone who does. When we don’t understand, we know the One who understands everything. In turbulent times of uncertainly, we can be sure of one thing, our God does immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. God gave us the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), let us use it wisely.
Let us pray, asking big and imagining large. In the asking and imagining, we trust fully the One Who does immeasurably more — the one who is both able and willing.