According to Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV), God is able to give us exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask for. Did you catch that? Exceedingly & Abundantly more! Wow, that’s almost unimaginable–especially if you’re someone with “out of this world” goals and dreams! But that’s the type of God we serve–the type of God that I believe in.
So as I began to cross-examine my life, cross-referencing my beliefs (according to the Word of God), and where I thought my faith was, along with what had actually manifested, though I’m blessed, there were, and still are, many things that still just weren’t quite matching up. This led me to began to inquire of God–seeking Him out for wisdom and understanding. Something just wasn’t right. My life wasn’t, and still isn’t, reflecting what His Word establishes for His people; And I wanted to know why.
As usual, God answered my request (James 1:5-8).
This is still an ongoing study and work in progress for me, but so far, this is what God has revealed by way of the Holy Spirit; And I am already being blessed–experiencing a shift in the Spirit, and as a result, in the natural as well.
GOD DOES ANSWER PRAYERS & GRANTS REQUESTS under two (thus far revealed) conditions:
- When your requests are in line with His perfect will for your life.
- When your heart, mind, and Spirit are aligned and ready for what you’re asking for.
In Part I of this reflection, we will focus on the first condition (though some points may coincide with the second) and use our perfect example, Jesus Christ, to assist us in doing so.
Right before Jesus was to be arrested and bear the burden of the cross, he was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. One of His prayers was this, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.“ (Luke 22:42 NIV) Have you been open to God’s will to be done–even if it’s completely opposite and/or out of line with what you’re asking Him for? Even if it seems dreadful in the moment? Even if you don’t understand it–or do partially understand (as far as your earthly mind and eyes could perceive) but feel that you aren’t capable of bearing it? Let’s ask ourselves some specific questions:
- Are you willing to NOT settle and remain single (unmarried) in this season–for a purpose you can’t fully understand just yet?
- Are you willing to stop dating and/or engaging in extramarital relations to focus on your relationship with God, and in preparation for the Calling He has placed on your life?
- Are you willing to be faithful (obedient, wise, responsible) with the funds that you have right now, while waiting on the season of overflow you’re asking for?
- Are you willing to let go of some things (including people, places, practices/habits) that are hindering you in any and all aspects of your life?
- Are you willing to humble yourself and take on the “small” and/or “odd” jobs that you’re overqualified for, just for a season–to position yourself and your family for the GREATER that’s on the other side?
- Are you willing to release the fear of other’s judgment and/or the desire to people please so that you can walk in your freedom? ( I have to shout for this one right here, because this is one for me to reflect on all day every day–one that I have been diligently addressing and actively working towards daily).
We are encouraged in Romans 12:2 (NIV) to, “[Not] be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our minds]. Then [we] will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Have you asked God to help you to discern what His will is for you? Have you reflected on whether, or not what you’re asking for is pleasing to Him? Have you expanded your expectation and desired His perfect will–instead of being willing to settle for what’s simply “good?” When you renew and transform your mind to desire the things of the Spirit, He will prove to you how much more gratifying, fulfilling, and lasting, His perfect will is for your life.
God tells His people who had been carried away into exile by the Babylonians (where they would be for 70 years), while encouraging them to seek prosperity for themselves and their community in the meantime, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
In the midst of exile, He still expected His people to seek prosperity, and to pray for their community (even though it was a foreign one–one in which they were being held captive). If He didn’t expect to grant them prosperity, why would he encourage them to seek it out by building and establishing homes, families, peace (Jeremiah 29:4-9)? He still expected His people to trust His plan. Why? Because God’s will for you is perfect! He wants you to prosper! He want’s you to be excited about your future! He wants you to live with Hope and expectation to receive greater; because you will–under some conditions of course!
Have you considered that maybe God has not granted your request(s) because they are NOT in conjunction with His PERFECT will for your life? God’s vision is so far greater than ours. In fact, there is no comparison. He can see what we can’t. His vision is not like our own (Isaiah 55:8). Because He is Spirit, He sees in the Spirit & we see in the natural.
Ask God to eliminate your taste for natural things, and to increase your appetite and perception for the Spiritual things of God. Ask Him for wisdom, clarity, and understanding so that you can pray and make requests that correlate and adhere to His perfect will for your life. God is not hiding. If you seek Him, you will find him (Jeremiah 29:12-14). He will give you the power to begin to operate in a way that will shift your mind, thoughts, and will to match His own (Philippians 2:13, Hebrews 13:21). Then you will begin to notice a shift in what’s manifesting in your life.
Let’s revisit Ephesians 3:20 (NIV), but this time the entire verse. “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.” There is a condition here. The wonderfully unimaginable life that is promised is according to the power of God at work in us. The power at work within us is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit cannot be in synchronization with the sinful and natural things and desires of this world. If you are trying to achieve success while straddling both, you are divided against yourself and God; And a kingdom divided against itself falls (Mark 3:24). You cannot make worldly requests and expect prayers to be answered when they are not in line with the Holy Spirit. Friendship with this world is enmity against God (James 4:4). Even if what you’re praying for is positive and good, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is in God’s perfect will for your life.
Lastly, God expects us to seek Him out to accomplish our dreams and obtain the things that we desire. In fact, the bible tells us that we don’t have because we do not ask, and when we ask, we ask with wrong motives (James 4:2-3). Moving forward, develop a habit of checking yourself–seeking out God’s perfect will for your life, so that you can begin to make requests that are on one accord with Him. Use our wonderful Savior, Jesus, as an example, as he prayed on the Mount of Olives in the same way that he taught us to in the Lord’s Prayer, asking that God’s will be done (Matthew 6:10, Matthew 6:9-13). Just as God sent Jesus an angel to minister to and strengthen him (Luke 22:43), God will send you angels to strengthen you as you move forward to accomplish His will and purpose for your life on this earth.
If the first part of this reflection has resonated with you, ministering to your Spirit, stay tuned for the second part of the reflection as we determine whether our heart and mind are prepared for the things that we’ve been asking for.
I love you. But God Loves you more. Be blessed.