Just How Great Is Our God?

How many times have you sung that simple song, “How Great is Our God”? Yet how many times have you invested time in prayer for a specific request and quickly added provisions, excuses, and qualifications to protect that “great” God from the embarrassment of not answering?

It’s as if we’re unwilling to really let go of our prayer.

I know I’ve done it. Recently, we have been praying that our house would sell. So far, nothing. I can feel my grip tightening. My list of excuses growing.

All too often, our prayers sound like this:

God, we know that all things work together for good and that you may have another plan and that you are sovereign over all things, O great God, so that you may have other plans, like I said, and the answer may well be a resounding “No!” — and that would be fine, O Lord, but if it wouldn’t be too much of a burden, [quickly insert request here] BUT, nevertheless, Lord, give me the grace to accept your answer and endure the denial of this request that I have just made so that when you do not do anything on my behalf, I may save face before my friends and family….

Well, maybe that last part doesn’t actually come out of our mouths. But it’s as if we don’t really expect our great God to give any great answers. Like we don’t believe He will. Or can. At least not for us. So we don’t pray as if He will.

Just who exactly are we protecting when we pray with such an extensive list of qualifiers? Could it be that we’re just hedging our own bets, lowering our own expectations to avoid feeling disappointed when our feeble prayers bounce off the ceiling and boink us on the head? Is it any wonder that they fail to move God to action?

Just how great is my God anyways?

Consider these wise words from EM Bounds:

We need a quickening faith in God’s power. We have hedged God in until we have little faith in his power. We have conditioned the exercise of His power till we have a little God, and a little faith in a little God.

The only condition which restrains God’s power, and which disables him to act, is unfaith. He is not limited in action nor restrained by the conditions which limit men.

The conditions of time, place, nearness, ability and all others which could possibly be named, upon which the actions of men hinge, have no bearing on God. If men will look to God and cry to Him with true prayer, He will hear and can deliver, no matter how dire may be their state, how remediless their conditions may be.

Strange how God has to school His people in His ability to do!

Strange indeed, if He is as great as we sing Him to be.

The God of the Bible, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, who delights to give good gifts to His children, who did not spare even His only Son for us — is infinite. That’s how great God is. Regardless of how big your box is, it’s too small for God.

God is bigger than the boxes we’ve put Him in. ~ Seth Barnes

How great — or small — is your God? A quick check of your prayers might tell you more than you want to know. Ask yourself how much of your prayer do you take back from God’s hands even while you are offering it to Him?

Prayer puts God work in His hands, and keeps it there! ~ EM Bounds

Is our God the one who can do far more than we can ask or imagine? Maybe we should start praying like it.

Have you noticed a similar urge to hold back in your prayers or to offer excuses in advance for God not answering? Share your story of prayer success — or failure — to help us all live with abundant faith.

About Bill Blankschaen

Bill Blankschaen is a writer, author, and communicator who empowers people to live a story worth telling. As the founder of FaithWalkers, he equips Christians to think, live, and lead with abundant faith.

His next book entitled Live a Story Worth Telling: A FaithWalker's Guide is scheduled for release in May 2015 from Abingdon Press. His writing has been featured with Michael Hyatt, Ron Edmondson, Skip Prichard, Jeff Goins, Blueprint for Life, Catalyst Leaders, Faith Village, and many others who shall remain nameless.

Bill is a blessed husband and the father of six children with an extensive background in education and organizational leadership. He serves as VP of Content & Operations for Polymath Innovations in partnership with Patheos Labs. He is the Junior Scholar of Cultural Theology and Director of Development for the Center for Cultural Leadership. He works with a variety of ministries including Equip Leadership (founded by John C. Maxwell) when he's not visiting his second home -- Walt Disney World.

  • disqus_lmbvOJIq6C

    I’ve encountered a problem recently
    I am a 17 year old Sr in high school and am currently working out what I’ll be doing in college for the next few years
    Almost three years ago was when I got saved and music played a part in that
    Allow me to explain. It was my second year at church camp and ever since the last year the song “Glory to God” was stuck in my head. then about half way through the week the speaker for that year tied his lesson in with that song and it really grabbed my attention Later that night I was saved I was then inspired to be involved with music and use it to lead others to Christ and feel as if that is what God wishes for me but my parents say that its not a stable field and that I should find something more practical and maybe have music as a minor
    I am in full belief that if God has a different plan for me he will lead me to it but like I said I do belief that this is his plan I’m prepared to give into it whole-heartedly and have faith that God will provide in the times of grief
    I had first planed on majoring in music and minoring in psychology (in order to help with my speaking skills, what to say, and when to say it)
    but my Parents say I should have a back up plan as a failsafe
    However I truly believe that God will provide and all I have to do is let him use me and as I said earlier If his plan is different that he will lead me in accordance with it
    what is your opinion The college I’m trying to go to is a 4 year university so a bachelors is the highest degree I can get I think
    and If you think I should have a backup plan what would be something to help with music preformance

    • http://www.BillintheBlank.com/ Bill Blankschaen

      Wow.Exciting times for you. Big questions that I don’t claim to have the answers to. But having counseled a lot of students in this area, here are a few things to think about.
      1. The same God that you think is calling you into music also put your parents in your life to guide you on this path. The Bible is clear that a fool ignores the wisdom of his parents. God may be speaking to you through your parents to “instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.”
      2. As you sort through these years, a lot can change within you and in your life over the next 2-4 years. Your parents know that, having lived through it. Thus I have always seen it as wise to take a path at that age that develops your strengths AND keeps your options open. So stay flexible for now, prepare for change, and lay a solid foundation, not just in your course of studies, but life habits.
      3. Don’t listen to your peers. They don’t know any more than you do at this point. Sorry. Just the way it is.
      4. God will lead you into His plans for you if you are His child; the question is how much resistance YOUR plans will offer to His plans. If His plan was for you to walk away from music, would you be willing to do it. Not saying it is, just a way to test your heart.
      5. Often in ministry efforts, you need a way to pay the bills that is compatible with your calling. Paul made tents to make a living at times and to connect with the people of a city. Good to have a marketable skill or credential that can leverage your strengths to do that.
      6. I’m not that clear on what it is exactly that you hope to be doing. Maybe you don’t know yet, either. Could you write out what you envision your future as being in very concrete terms? If not, you should take the tie to discover your strengths and get clear on your direction. If you can get clear, find people who are already doing what you want to do and connect with them. Pay them for their time if necessary, shadow them, whatever to see if that is really what you want to do and what you need to do to get there.
      7. Finally, pray. Humble yourself before the Lord. Fast. Plead for His direction. “Submit to those in authority over you for they watch for your soul.” Walking by faith often means that we follow God’s commands even when they don’t seem to make sense to us at the time. I have seen it happen again and again that a person in your position showed honor to his or her parents and God honored their obedience and exalted them to give them the desires of their heart.

      Hope this helps. Like I said, there’s lot I don’t know about your situation. If I can be of help, let me know. Check my post on discovering your strengths. I will pray for you…. Keep me posted.


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