Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)
What have you asked God for lately? If you are like the rest of us, your prayers are generally pretty limited to what you "think" you or someone else needs in their lives. Based on our limited understanding of both the need at hand and God's means to meet that specific need, we ask for what it is we "think" will resolve or meet that need. This isn't always wrong - God wants us to ask. Yet, I wonder if we were to admit to God a little more frequently that we don't really know what someone needs, or even what we need in this moment, but that we are trusting him to meet the "specific" need in the manner he knows will be the best for us if we'd be more "open" to receiving God's answers?
I know there are times in my own prayer life when I ask for something and then I observe the answer comes in quite a different manner than I ever imagined. It is a good thing I don't limit God by the confines of my imagination or I'd never receive the "best" answer for my need! If God gave us just what we asked for, we could find our "mess" we hoped to receive deliverance from brings us right into an even bigger "mess" we didn't even know existed! This is why we lay our our needs to God and then trust him to answer those needs according to his plan and timing.
Paul was writing to the Ephesian believers - a group of non-churched Gentiles who were now gathering together with some of the "churched" in the community. It was a group of what some in the religious community of the time considered kind of unusual or even unacceptable - simply because the "non-churched" Gentiles weren't supposed to be God's "chosen" in their eyes. God had a different plan, though. The plan was to reach all men for Christ - not just a select few. If the first churches after Christ's death had restricted the non-churched from their meetings, they would have "interfered with" or "limited" what God intended through the death of his Son.
There are probably more times in this lifetime where we "think" we have things figured out according to God's will - it lines up with what scripture allows, has God at the center of the activity, etc. Then we get "surprised" by an answer that comes in some different form or manner. We forget that God is God! He is the one who knows much better than we do how the end of a matter is to be reached. It may be we get pretty close to this in our imagination or thoughts, but if we continue to limit his movement in and through us by what it is we can imagine or think, we could just be missing out on far more than we ever realize!
We don't stop praying or asking for those needs to be met. We just lay it out there and then we act upon what we know to be true and right in the matter, trusting God to make things even clearer as we do. In the place of obedient trust, we act upon what we know. In the place of submitted will, we let him act upon what he knows. Just sayin!