Paul, in the middle of a praise-hymn to God in Christ, makes the astounding claim that He is “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,” because of the power that is working in Christian believers (Ephesians 3:20).
God is able! He is able to do what we ask; he is able to do more than we think; he is able to do above all that we can ask or think. And this doesn’t just mean that God is capable of answering more prayers than we are asking; it also means he is answering prayers in ways that are bigger and wiser than we may be able to perceive. As Samuel Rutherford warned, “Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences.”
God is able to do more than you are asking, more than you are thinking, more than you are feeling that he is doing.
So do not rely merely on your own experience of seen and tangible answered prayers –- God may be answering your prayers in ways you’ll never see or recognize in your lifetime. As you pray for the name of Jesus to be glorified around the globe — for instance — you may see some small pieces of the answer to that prayer, the labors in which you are directly involved or in the work your own church may be supporting. But God is also delivering Bibles, and providing Christian fellowship, and transforming hearts in ways and places beyond the scope of anything you are engaged in or aware of, in answer to your prayers!
This passage from Paul requires us to exercise faith, because it demands us to trust something beyond what we can experience or verify for ourselves. That is the very nature of faith.
Faith rests in real facts and verifiable evidence, but then reaches out from that to grasp things that can’t be seen, touched, or even imagined.
We know the real man Jesus lived a perfect life, gave perfect instruction, died and rose again from death in order to prove that he is God’s Savior. And based on that firm foundation we trust that God’s love and power are working all things together for good to those who love God, that God is hearing and answering prayer even though we may not perceive it, and that one day we will be sinless before him in love -– although we can’t even imagine what that would be like.
Do not pray according to your limited experience or meager expectations or subjective feelings.
Pray joyfully and expectantly according to the mind-blowing, request-exceeding, Christ-glorifying promises of God!