We get what we ask for. People ask for specific things for Christmas and their families usually comply. It would surprise us if we received something greater. At restaurants, we order certain foods and don’t expect anything extra; we get what we ask for. In fact, sometimes we get less because the menu always looks better than the real thing.
But with God it’s different. He doesn’t chop off anything extra to enhance profits, nor is He stingy and tight. He’s pleased to be generous. James said we can ask Him for wisdom and He “gives to all men generously” (James 1:5). There’s no disappointment from God, unless He thinks it’s not in your best interest to get what you’ve asked for. “You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). This aside, you will always experience generosity from God.
In Ephesians 3, Paul prayed for the church, trying to comfort their worries about him being in jail. He described the terrific things God had given Him to do throughout the Gentile world, hinting there are still important things to do even behind bars. God had gone beyond all of Paul’s expectations. Based on this experience, the apostle made the clearest statement in the Bible about God’s generous answers to prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph.3:20-21).
God answers us exceeding abundantly. The original language says something like superabundantly. This is pumped-up and enlarged abundance. How’s that for an answer to your prayers?!
But he doesn’t stop there. The apostle says, “beyond all that we ask or think.” Literally over and above. God can go beyond all that we ask, and grant us so much more – more than we ever thought or dreamed! Paul himself was given a second chance when he was baptized into Christ; he was given an apostleship. It was more than he asked for, or even dreamed possible. The Ephesian church didn’t have it easy, but God gave them great strength to become one of the most influential congregations of the ancient world. God did this for them.
Are you ready for the generosity of God when you pray? The best thing we can ever do for God is to believe Him. Do you believe He can do superabundance? Are you ready for it?
– Tim Johnson