Paul’s effusive praise of God reflects the unbounded bounty of his ability to bless his people in response to their prayers:
- He is able to do or to work, for he is neither idle nor inactive, nor dead (contrast the mute idols in Ps. 115:1-8).
- He is able to do what we ask, for he hears and answers the very prayers that he commands we pray! This points out an important spiritual principle: when it is God’s will to bestow a blessing, he graciously incites the human heart to ask for it!
- He is able to do what we ask or think, for he reads our thoughts, and sometimes we imagine things which we are afraid to articulate and therefore do not ask. In other words, his ability to provide for us must never be measured by the limits of our spoken requests.
- He is able to do all that we ask or think, for he knows it all and can perform it all. There is nothing that is proper for us to have that transcends or outstrips his power to perform.
- He is able to do more . . . than (hyper, “beyond”) all that we ask or think, for his expectations are higher than ours.
- He is able to do much more, or more abundantly, than all that we ask or think, for he does not give his grace by calculated measure.
He is able to do very much more, far more abundantly, than all that we ask or think, for he is a God of superabundance (the single Greek word that stands behind this idea, huperekperissou (see 1 Thess. 3:10; 5:13), has the idea of an extraordinary degree, considerable excess beyond expectations, etc.).
- All that he does he does by virtue of his power that even now energetically works within us.
So, what are you praying for, and how are you praying for it?