The Extraordinary, the Abundant, and the Miraculous: Letting God Be Who He Really Is
When was the last time you prayed for something daring? Something miraculous? Something extraordinary? Something abundant?
I confess that I rarely ask beyond what I feel worthy of receiving. As a result my prayers are often small. From my own observations over a number of years, I’ve found that most of us usually pray according to our own understanding. We pray for things we feel are within proper means, for what is reasonable, realistic, or according to what we feel we deserve. But I believe God wants to do more than what we see or understand, way more than what we deserve, and immeasurably more than what is within practical means, or even realistic. Because it’s just not about us – it’s about Him. I believe God wants to do the abundant, the extraordinary, and the miraculous. With God all things are possible to him who believes, and with Him nothing is impossible. He invites us into His realm of the eternal, extraordinary, and miraculous – provided we are willing to venture there in prayer and find out what He’s doing.
Extraordinary Works Among Ordinary People
When we read the Bible we see extraordinary works of God manifested on behalf of very ordinary people. I think we sometimes read these timeless stories and feel…well, kind of inadequate in comparison. But we’re not. We are no different than they were. And God has certainly not changed. He never changes. So, the equation that applied then still applies today:
ORDINARY PEOPLE + MUSTARD SEED FAITH x ALMIGHTY GOD = MIRACLES
The Lord makes it clear that He rewards our faith and those who diligently seek Him (see Hebrews 11:6). He encourages us to simply ‘believe’. In the Gospels I see Jesus getting excited when He witnessed great faith. However, these moments were rare. Most had to push past their unbelief and their doubts to tap into God’s realm (just like we do). But this didn’t stop Him from performing their requests, and it didn’t stop them from asking either. He simply used the opportunity to encourage and teach them. So don’t be discouraged if you feel your faith isn’t up to par. Simply use what you have. This is what I love about Jesus: He always takes our weaknesses and uses them to build us up.
He taught us to ask – and to keep asking without giving up. It can never hurt to ask. As we step out by praying in faith, God leads us and helps us in our prayers so that we are able to pray according to His perfect will in the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:26, 27). Jesus instructed us to pray that His will be done (present future tense) on earth as it is in heaven (present tense) (see Matthew 6:10).
Whoa. Now, that’s exciting! That is a direct invitation into the miraculous!
A Perfect God with a Perfect Will
We are the instruments God chooses to bring His perfect will to pass upon the earth. We are co-laborers with Christ through the Holy Spirit. I believe that is the key to prayer: being able to discern the will of God in heaven so that it can be performed on earth. Jesus did this daily by seeking His Father. He demonstrated for us what to do and how to do it. He never did anything apart from His Father’s will, and we can’t do anything apart from Him either. If the Son of God had to seek the Father to cooperate, then so do we. Therefore, knowing His will in Heaven is key to being able to agree and cooperate with God on earth.
Heaven is a place where the perfect will of God is performed without fail, and there is no such thing as transgression. Heaven is where Almighty God is ALL-MIGHTY. He gets to be who He really is. Nothing hinders Him. His realm is absolute perfection and it’s eternal. His works and His glory are continually witnessed by the holy angels who are forever in His presence, singing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come”. I believe our awesome and all-powerful God gets bored with small prayers, and at times, perhaps even insulted. If He’s not moved by your small prayers, then pray bigger ones! I believe He wants to provoke us to believe Him to perform wonderful acts – because that is who He is – and He can’t be anything less. Let’s not demote Him.
When we begin to embrace His vision, we are able to believe Him for what He wants to truly accomplish in our lives and on earth. This challenges our faith and transforms our prayer life. We begin asking for the extraordinary, the abundant, and the miraculous. The reason I think God gets bored by some of our prayers is because they do not require faith to pray them. They’re simply ordinary. And God is not ordinary. He’s omnipotent and eternal. He’s just waiting for us to ask Him to do what only He can do. Does God really want to do the ordinary? I don’t think so. I think He’s itching and craving to do something extraordinary and miraculous so that His glory can be magnified in us upon the earth. But He needs someone with the guts to ask.
Childlike Faith: The Key that Unlocks Heaven’s Potential
So who will believe Him? What’s more: who will ask Him? He tells us He will do whatever we ask in His name according to the Father’s will. This is reserved for those who would merely ask; for those who believe with faith the size of a mustard seed; for those who seek Him with their whole heart; for those who have childlike faith. As you can see, God isn’t asking for great faith. He’s asking us to use the faith we have in whatever measure He’s given. When we do that, He brings the increase.
I love those moments when He would say, “Just believe.” Sometimes, that’s all we can do. That’s the only cooperation we get to have. He does all the rest. It couldn’t be any simpler. Yet, sometimes we pray with a feeling of obligation to somehow make it all happen, and this hinders us in our prayer life. And consequently, nothing happens at all. Subconsciously, we feel responsible for making it come to pass. Then when it doesn’t, we feel like we’ve failed. Rarely do we pray and enter God’s divine rest. Instead, we wrestle. We get anxious. We worry and wonder. We fret. This stifles our prayer life, and we really aren’t willing to pray anything too daring for fear of disappointment. So we hang back. But truly, what do we have to lose by asking? God is the One who has to perform the work. He’s the One who gets stuck with the job. He’s the One who’s obligated to fulfill His word. All He tells us to do is ask, believe, and obey. So if we’re going to ask of Him, we need to be willing to cooperate with Him. If He says to believe Him, then believe Him. Whatever it is He tells us, He wants us to participate. He wants to move in us and through us. We are His chosen vessels. So if we’re going to ask, we also have to be ready to act, realizing that part of laboring to enter His rest means we can’t do anything more or less than what He tells us to do. Otherwise it’s simply wasted energy and effort. God wants obedience; not sacrifice.
God takes great pleasure in childlike faith. He loves it. Because for the most part, kids will believe anything you tell them. Their critical thinking skills are very, very limited. They don’t have a bias and they can’t intelligently argue. Their faith is pure and it’s simple because it’s based on trust. God wants us to be the same way with Him. He wants us to take Him at His word, even when we don’t understand. It gets His attention when we ask and receive with faith that trusts Him despite what we feel or see. When we choose to acknowledge that He is the Almighty, Faithful and True, Beginning and End, Perfect, Just and Righteous – then He is blessed by our faith in Him, and He blesses us in return.
He is constantly working behind the scenes on our behalf. If we really knew what God was doing for us, each moment of every day, it would blow our minds. When we choose to glorify Him for those things He’s doing it delights His heart. It honors Him. It makes Him happy. He gets excited! When we can ask in faith, praising Him in advance for what He’s already done, is doing, and going to do, expecting the extraordinary and miraculous – guess what? He shows up and delivers the goods. The extraordinary, the abundant, and the miraculous appear.
Three Examples of Faith
There are three stories of faith that I’d like to share. Each demonstrates a different level of faith. However, all individuals received what they asked of God.
I love the story of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. This was a Gentile man of authority and power. He was a Roman. He understood the power of the spoken word in a given command, as he had many servants who were subject to his own orders. He clearly understood the principles of authority, rank, and power. He came beseeching Jesus in humility and with reverence, acknowledging him as Lord. When Jesus offered to go with him he politely declined and told him he was not worthy, but to only speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus marveled at this faith and declared He had not seen such faith – not even in Israel! Request granted. It was DONE. His servant was healed in that very hour.
Let’s take a look at Jairus and his dying daughter in Mark 5:22-43 and Luke 8:41-56. I see fragile faith displayed here. This guy flipped out. He was frantic. Personally, I cannot imagine what he was feeling. For anyone who has nearly lost a child, you would know. Desperation doesn’t even come close, right? He was begging Jesus to come quickly, for his daughter was on the verge of death. And our Lord responded by following Jairus. But He was detained en route by a desperate woman with an issue of blood, who stepped out against all odds to receive her miracle. As a result, Jesus took the time in the midst of an urgent situation to find her and affirm her faith! Once again, we see Jesus get excited. Power went out from Him apart from His consent. I’m wondering if this had ever happened to Him before. The faith of this woman tapped Christ’s power and she received her miracle! Clearly, He was moved by this, insomuch that He allowed Himself to be detained for her sake. And notice He wasn’t in a hurry. Do you ever feel that way? You’ve asked God for something and He’s just taking His sweet time? And for us the situation is emergent! After all, He’s the Beginning and the End, right? In the midst of the throng He stopped and said, “Who touched me?” By this time, Jairus received news that his daughter had already died. Can you even imagine his angst? But Jesus took precious time for this woman. In this we see the kindness and patience of the Lord. He both sought her and affirmed her. Meanwhile, Jairus faith is on trial. It was too late and now his faith was totally crushed. I’m betting this man’s heart broke that very moment. But Jesus protected his faith and simply told him, “Just believe.” The Lord worked with the faith Jairus had. This man had enough faith to ask, and that was all Jesus needed to respond. Despite Jairus’ wavering emotions, He raised up Jairus’ daughter, telling him that she was not dead but ‘sleeping’. Wow. I like that result, don’t you?
As I write this, the Lord reminds me of the story in Mark 2:1-5 where the friends of a paralytic man ripped off the roof of a man’s house just to get to Jesus. That is violent faith. Mind you, this took some doing. This was no menial task. It took serious muscle, maybe some blood, and definitely some sweat and tears. I have no doubt this would be an act the religious elite would have condemned. But Jesus didn’t rebuke them for destroying someone else’s property. No, instead He commended their faith! Can you imagine the commotion this would have caused? I would bet that it took some sweet time to accomplish that feat, and that the attention of all those gathered together under that roof were suddenly stricken with what was happening, only to find a paralytic man being lowered into the presence of Christ. Talk about guts. Everything came to screeching halt that day. They got His attention, and they received what they came for – before they even asked.
So go ahead. Rip the roof off. I dare you. Tear the house apart. Get violent with your faith. Do whatever you have to do to get to Jesus. And don’t quit.
We can clearly see that Christ honors the faith we have been given, whether it be weak or strong; small or great. There is only one condition: we just have to use it.
Childlike Roof-Ripping Faith
I want to encourage you to begin asking God for extraordinary things, miraculous things, and abundant things; for the things you never thought you had permission to ask; for the things you feel you don’t deserve. Take the dare. Seek Him and find out what He’s up to. What is He really wanting to do in your life? He will always honor His word and His will. He is all too pleased to perform it – on earth as it is in heaven – if we will only ask Him.
Cheers & Shalom,