walk in the word
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20, esv).
How big can you dream? Most of us have big, bold imaginations. We can hope big, wish big, and dream big.
“Let’s challenge the content and assumptions of our prayers.”
But do we pray that way? Maybe we believe that God can answer us, but secretly we fear He won’t. So we give Him an easy out with our limp, little prayers, never daring to ask for something big and bold because we’re afraid He won’t deliver.
Let’s challenge the content and assumptions of our prayers. After all, He “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” We can ask for and think of a lot—and He can do more! What if we take Him at His Word? What if we align our prayers with this biblical description and start praying big?
This principle has revolutionized my prayer life, and maybe it could do the same for you. Visualize your prayers as already answered. As you’re verbalizing your requests to the Father, picture them done.
Let’s say you’re praying for a prodigal child. In your mind, picture the event you are asking for: “Lord, I can see him returning to You. I see him standing beside me in church, singing Your praises, delighted to be in Your presence. I can picture him sitting in his room reading Your Word and letting what You are teaching him filter into his conversations so I know You’re renewing his mind.” Visualize that prayer fulfilled, and then say, “I believe that’s going to happen, Lord.”
Over the past few decades, I have lifted many crises to God in prayer: serious health challenges, ministry catastrophes, and wandering children. I express it as vividly and clearly to God as I’m able, believing it’s part of the future He has in store for me. No, I’m not trying to dictate to God how He should answer, but I’ve found that lurking behind some of our hesitation to ask is the fear that God won’t answer. The willingness to vividly imagine what God’s answer could look like is a much more definite statement of faith than half-letting-Him-off-the-hook with a timid prayer. Are we really afraid God can’t deliver what we can imagine? The Apostle Paul wasn’t. He knew that whatever he asked for, God could do “far more abundantly.” Are those words just doxological hyperbole, or do they express an absolute faith we can put into practice when we pray?
Picturing the prayer as answered is a beneficial aspect of the discipline of prayer. When we visualize our prayers answered, we may discover that God delights in proving us not bold or vivid enough! He does far more than we ask or think. And the biggest surprises aren’t just the ways He answers our prayers, which may shock us, but the ways He changes us and grows our faith in the process.
Father God, forgive me for praying small prayers that lack faith. Teach me to pray as Paul did—boldly and with faith. I believe You can answer, and I believe You will answer. By faith I dare to visualize what You can do in my life. You are able to do far more abundantly! I know that praying big doesn’t force Your hand; it changes me. In Jesus’ matchless name I pray, amen.
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