What Does it Mean That God Is Able to Do More Than All We Ask?
- Meg Bucher Writer and Author
- 2021 31 May
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
God is not coincidental. We are all created in His image and designed with a specific, unique purpose. Our heavenly Father loves us so much, He sent His only Son Jesus to die for us. The cross was brutal and unjust, but Jesus faced it head on for us, praying for His Father’s will to be done. Life to the full. This is our calling. To live. Paul wrote to the Ephesians to remind them of these powerful truths about who God is and who they were as His children … and who we are as His children today. We can pray big prayers to our all-powerful God. He has big plans for us.
What Does Paul Mean by 'God Is Able to Do Immeasurably More Than All We Ask'?
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 NLT
Immeasurably more. Infinitely more. Abundantly beyond. (NASB) Superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams]. (AMP)
Paul had just previously written of “God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles,” (NIV) and the key verses we are learning about today are included in the prayer that followed. “God’s love for us goes farther than even time itself,” Christina Fox wrote, “His love for us is a love that doesn’t hold back. His love givens everything, to the point of sacrificing his very own Son …This is unquantifiable, immeasurable love.”
God, who He is and what He does, will do, and has done is immeasurable. We only see and know a slice of the whole pie in the sky. And we can know a lot about God! He is not afraid of our questions, frustrations, and promises. When we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him. “The closing doxology encourages readers and praises God,” Gerald Peterman explains, “First, with language reminiscent of 1:19 they are reminded that He has the power to grand such bold requests and more still. Second, glory is given to Him, who alone deserves it” (Moody). Ephesians 1:7-10 reads:
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment- to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
All we ask of God isn’t all He intends to do through us. The more time spent with God in His Word, the Bible, and in prayer and worship, the more we begin to see through His perspective. But no matter how much we grow in our faith, we still can’t see the next day, or always understand fully why certain things happen to us and the ones we love in this life. “The Lord is able to transform angry people into peaceful ones; sad people into content believers;” Candice Lucey wrote, “despairing individuals into his own hopeful children who are confident that they are a bigger and better story.”
What Kinds of Things Does God Do That We Don't Think to Ask For?
“God can do anything, you know- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” - Ephesians 3:20 Message
God’s purposes are greater than ours. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is God; we are not. So, there are infinite ways He does things we don’t know to ask for. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
When I held my daughter for the first time, I could not believe God would bless me in such a way after the wayward years I had previously stumbled out of. I remember the way God provided for my family when I answered His call to quit working away from home to be a full-time mom. I remember the miraculous way He took away a disease from my body in a healing I knew He was capable of and hoped for but didn’t expect in the way that it came.
Time after time in our lives, He is there to blow us away with beautiful sunrises and blessings beyond anything we could imagine. Life comes with hardships, and we can’t just explain away our pain even when we know God works all things for good. It’s too hard. But in peering back at what we’ve come through, we can see His hand on our lives. God’s mercies and blessings line our lives in the places we least expect or know to ask for them.
What Does This Teach Us about God as Infinite vs. Man as Finite?
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
God is all-knowing, everywhere and unchanging. The earth and everything in it began with Him, and all things lie under His sovereign control. In the beginning of Paul’s prayer to end this passage, he wrote,
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives it’s name.”
We are limited in our knowledge of God, even in close relationship with Him as we grow and are sacrificed in our faith. There is no way for us to know what lies ahead, but God can. He goes before us, and prepares the way.
Paul wrote, “to him be glory.” The NIV Study Bible explains glorifying God is, “The ultimate goal of our existence.” Faith is trusting in God’s plan over our agenda because we recognize He is infinite, and we are finite. Ephesians 3:20 brings to light there are things we cannot even imagine which God already knows will come to fruition. We can trust in the unknown details of our lives because God is good. He is love. We are created in His image to bring glory and honor to our Father.
What Should We Be Asking God For?
“Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine though the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 The Voice
Everything, and all of the things we can’t imagine. We can pray big prayers to God. He is God! He may not answer every prayer to the tune and timing of our desires, but He hears every single one and does answer according to His will. “God promises to provide for us in time of need,” Kelly Balarie wrote, “You can rest assured as a child of God that if He leads you to it in life, God will provide the strength and hope that you need.”
A Prayer to Thank God for All That He Does
God, You are our good Father. Your love and goodness are responsible for every good and beautiful thing in our lives and that which surrounds us. Thank You for lacing our lives with blessings. We pray You point them out to us when we are rushing through our days and on to the next prayer request. Slow us to seek more of You, God. We want more than we can ask for or imagine to come to fruition in our lives. Help us to learn how to walk with You daily, through Christ Jesus, and fill us with the power of Your Holy Spirit, Father, so we can experience life to the full as Jesus died to give to us.
We want to know what comes next, Father. We want to plan and predict. You call us to work hard with the talents You’ve given us, to trust our lives in Your caring hands, and expect You will do great and good things through us. Father, we pray the Living Water running through our souls always directs our paths. We pray for boldness and courage to follow You when You ask us to do hard things, trusting Your plans for us are immeasurably more than we can ask for or imagine.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ephesians 3:20 is a popularly quoted verse, inspiring us to take heart and soldier on in the faith. When the difficult reality of following Jesus sets in, we can hold tight to this truth Paul so emphatically wrote to the Ephesians, as it’s meant for us today. Our hope is not in the things of this world or the way it measures success, comfort, or blessing. Our hope is in things unseen, sometimes things too big or far off for us to fully comprehend. Like our great God. But we can come to Him with every question, doubt, worry, and anxiety because He cares for us. His plans for us are more than we can ask for or imagine …immeasurably more. Infinitely more. Abundantly beyond. (NASB) Superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams]. (AMP) His love knows no boundaries.
NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.
Moody Bible Commentary. Copyright 2014. Moody Publishers.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Ben White
Meg, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” and “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” She writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters, which led her to pursue her passion to write. She has led a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. Meg, a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, lives by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.
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