In a sermon on the blessing of a godly mother, Spurgeon tells the story of his mother’s consternation at him becoming a Baptist. Spurgeon belonged to a Congregational family, was saved in a Methodist church, but later became a Baptist by conviction. On a particular day, his mother said to him, “Ah, Charles! I often prayed the Lord to make you a Christian, but I never asked that you might become a Baptist.” Without skipping a beat, Spurgeon cheekily replied, “Ah, mother! The Lord has answered your prayer with His unusual bounty and given you exceedingly abundantly above what you asked or thought.”
Don’t you love that playful interaction between that great man of God and his mother? And don’t you love the point of the story, that God can do that which we can’t imagine happening? The hand of God is not limited by the mind of man. God does amazing things for His people (Jer. 32:17; 33:3). Perhaps you cannot imagine your broken marriage being healed. Perhaps you cannot imagine your prodigal child returning home. Perhaps you cannot imagine God letting you accomplish that big hairy idea. Perhaps you cannot imagine God using you in your weakness. Well, think again, because we have a God who can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds them and us that the God who made all things, and who is working all things after the counsel of His own will, can do all things—things beyond our comprehension and calculation (Eph. 1:10–11; 3:20–21). That is why with God we ought to make no small plans. That is why with God we should be comfortable making the big ask. And the reason is that God can do all we ask or think of asking, more than all we ask or think of asking, more abundantly than all we can ask or think, far more abundantly than all we can ask or think. The God we trust in, pray to, and seek after is a God of abounding ability (Gen. 18:14; Job 42:2; Matt. 19:26). There are no limits to what God can do, and prayer, as the Puritans noted, is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent arm of God. Therefore, our prayers should be large and expectant.
While praying, let’s not waver in our belief that the goodness and greatness of God works on the believer’s behalf (Rom. 4:20; James 1:5–8). Let’s believe to see what might at this moment seem impossible (Psalm 27:13–14). Being many years without a son, Abraham could not have imagined that he would become the father of a nation that would bless the nations. As a shepherd boy, David could not have imagined just how far God would take him and bless his family. Nehemiah couldn’t have imagined the favor God would show him with the king in his desire to rebuild Jerusalem. Mary and Martha could not have imagined the resurrection of their brother after three days.
Those stories are a challenge. We must be challenged to think bigger, live bolder, and believe broader. In prayer with God, we must believe there is no person He cannot save, no enemy He cannot conquer, no temptation He cannot help us defeat, and no indwelling, menacing sin He cannot enable us to put to death. Imagine that!