…. immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power ….. (Eph 3:20)
Frank Payne, one-time pastor at Henley Baptist Church, was always full of new ideas. On one occasion when I was trying to keep up with his latest thought, he said he would always have ‘a dozen ideas before breakfast’. He has an entrepreneurial spirit, always ready to try something new, always looking for that novel approach, that unthought-of experiment. One time he organised the complete dismantling of an old bakery in Wales, its transport to Shymkent, Kazakhstan, and its reassembly there; it may still be working today. Another time he went out to look at two possible new sites for the English Centre and school. When he came back that evening he said ‘Guess what Geoff: I’ve bought them both!’ Of course, he had no money in the bank, but when did that ever stop an entrepreneur?
To some of us that spirit seems a bit daring, a bit adventurous, even a bit reckless. But listen to Paul: ‘[God] has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ’ … ‘he predestined us to be adopted as his sons…’ He goes on to declare that the ‘incomparably great’ power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is now available ‘for us who believe’. That’s pretty reckless language isn’t it? Yet if we agree with Paul that God ‘is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine – according to his power that is at work within us’ (yes, US) – well, you can’t get much more adventurous, more reckless than that.
As we proceed through this week of prayer, how adventurous is your praying? Do you stick to old familiar requests, things you’ve been asking God about for many years perhaps, but in your heart you don’t really expect anything to change there? I know my prayers can go round the same old houses, and probably no-one would be more surprised than me if anything happened. But if you read some of the psalms, the writer was clearly praying out of desperation; surrounded by literal enemies on all sides, he had nowhere else to turn, and if God didn’t answer, he was finished.
Someone has said ‘General prayers get general responses; specific prayers get specific responses’. What if we were to get a bit reckless in our praying? Just supposing we were to ask God for something very specific – a particular action to happen on a particular day; or someone we’ve been praying for, to actually contact us before the end of the week; or an apology we need to make to be well received, and a friendship restored; or 3 new couples to join SCC before Christmas. Is that too much to ask? Is God big enough? What have we got to lose?