More Than Capable

In my last article I shared with you four foundational truths about prayer. You could, broadly speaking, place them in the categories of God’s character and attributes. Character being his willingness to answer. Attributes being his ability to hear and to answer. In this article I want to talk about one of his attributes in greater detail. 

But before we get there I want to tell you about something that happened recently in my own church. I can’t go into details about it, but it was something that truly astounded me. I was shocked at what had occurred, in the most wonderful awe-inspiring way. God did something that left my jaw figuratively on the floor. The type of thing that we saw in the book of Acts. 

It was so wonderful and so amazing that it actually brought tears to my eyes and left me like a blubbering idiot for the rest of the afternoon. The Holy Spirit had worked in the life of someone who has been attending our church in such a marvelous way that it feels simply unbelievable. 

And here is the thing about that statement, it poses a question. Why exactly did I find this thing unbelievable? I found it unbelievable because I had put God in a box regarding what he capable of doing. Or rather I put him in a box regarding what he was willing to do. Mentally I would have said “yes God could” but it was so far outside my normal expectations that it never even occurred to me that he would do something like that. 

This experience reaffirmed for me a reality that God has been impressing upon me for the past several years. It is the truth that we often short change God in our prayers. In Ephesians 3:20 it says “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think”. God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” Let that sink in. God can to do more than what even crosses our mind.

In this circumstance in our church God did way more than I ever even thought to ask him for. WAY WAY MORE. But as I collected my thoughts I had to ask myself, “Why didn’t I think God could do something about this?” or rather “Why didn’t it cross my mind to ask God about this?” It truly never even crossed my mind to ask God to help in this situation in general, nor in this specific way. It was beyond my tight neat little box. 

But this experience also causes me to consider how many other areas and places I’m short changing God when it comes to prayer. If he truly is capable of doing more than I can ask or think then how should it motivate and inform my prayers? 

  • Am I asking for God for wisdom in how to approach a tricky situation?
  • Am I asking for God to give me the words to help my kids understand something?
  • Am I asking for God to help my kids understand their math homework or some other area of school? 
  • And so on

As you can imagine when we really internalize the reality of God’s attributes (his wisdom, power, and presence) it will have massive implications for how we pray, including for how you pray for your ministry. 

  • Does God know how best to communicate to your student and can he give you insight into how you can communicate? Yes.
  • Can God give your student the ability to better understand the lessons he or she is learning? Yep!
  • Can God use you to help communicate his love for them through your efforts? Absolutely.
  • So are you praying like he is able?

I hope that as you consider these truths that they will lead you to praying more for your students and your ministry, particularly in ways that move you beyond what you typically pray. 

This is the second in a series of 4 articles on Prayer by pastor and author Jon Varner, who just released his new book Prayer Sparks: The Gospel of Mark. Read the rest of the series:

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