A Disciple Making Movement trainer I know uses this question with potential seekers. “If God were to do a miracle for you today, what would it be?” Let them answer, then pray for whatever they said. Watch and see what God will do. This simple evangelism strategy makes room for God to show off His power and tremendous love.
It’s a somewhat scary strategy for some.
When we pray for a miracle, we can feel like we will be evaluated based on what happens. If God does something unusual, great. If not, then we wonder if we will be discredited somehow. People might think we are dishonest, fraudulent promoters of kooky religious ideas. Or they may reject us as just plain weird. Others might feel we are trying to be someone great, but aren’t able to deliver the goods.
These concerns can prevent us from boldly asking God for miracles.
How do miracles work? Why does God seem to answer some people’s prayers but not others? Is this an issue of spiritual gifting? How do you know if you have that gift or not? You may have asked some of these questions.
For those who wish to start Disciple Making Movements, it’s important to push through these issues and to seek God’s wisdom. The vast majority of DMMs include stories of miracles. Apostolic leaders are Spirit-filled and move in His power. Signs and wonders were characteristic of the early church movements.
Praying for Miracles
I’ve been asking God for a number of miracles lately. Returning to my home in Thailand involved seemingly impossible barriers. My daughter, pregnant with our grandbaby, experienced serious complications. A movement leader I’ve coached closely, developed a life-threatening brain tumor. My dear friend has suffered with severe pain in her back for years. My parents, age eighty-four and eighty-five, were diagnosed with Covid-19.
Needless to say, the topic of miracles has been on my mind. The other day, I found myself re-reading the story of Jesus’ first miracle. In it, key principles stood out. These have been guiding me as I ask God for His extraordinary intervention in the lives of these I love so much.
Lessons From Jesus’ First Miracle
1) Miracles are released when people close to God petition Him.
It is an amazing truth to realize that our sincere requests can change the mind of God. Mary’s did. Jesus at first responds to her, “My hour has not yet come.” Sounds like a no to me! Not a final one, however, because Jesus then performed a miracle.
The mother of Jesus appealed to Him based on the strength of their relationship. As a good Hebrew thirty-year-old, He honored His mother’s request. They were close, Mary and Jesus. On the basis of that intimate relationship, she asked and He responded…even though it evidently wasn’t in His plan to do a miracle that day.
We find other examples of this in scripture. The story of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah is one.
When I pray, I need to know there is at least a chance God will listen and act. How about you? Yes, He is sovereign and has a great cosmic plan we have no idea about. Yes, His ways are higher than ours. But God is also relational. He responds to the requests of those who walk in intimacy with Him.
2) Miracles are released when we listen and obey.
A tipping point of this miracle was the disciple’s obedience. Mary had confidence Jesus would respond to her request. The disciples? Not quite as much. The prophecies about who Jesus was hadn’t been simmering in their hearts for thirty years, as it had in hers.
Jesus’ mother says to them, “Do whatever He tells you.” And they did.
3) Miracles are released when we are willing to do the unusual.
What Jesus asked them to do was quite strange. Filling the water jugs took some work. They had to be willing to do whatever Jesus told them to, even if it made no sense in the natural. Without the filling of the jars in obedience, the miracle couldn’t have happened.
4) Miracles are released when our human supply is exhausted.
The wine purchased or prepared for the wedding was gone. Had the wine not run out, they wouldn’t have seen God’s glory. What they had in the natural was first spent. Then only a true miracle was needed.
Sometimes God asks us to first do what we can to give and serve someone before He releases the miraculous. We give. We pray. Showing up with meals or with practical help, we serve. We provide comfort and love to those who are struggling.
I don’t know why I have to run out of energy, money, and anything I can humanly do before God’s miracle comes. This has often been true in my life. Having invested much, the miracle is more precious to us. This is also a part of participating in the miracle, preparing the ground for it to be released.
What Not to Do When Miracles Fail to Happen
Let’s be honest. Not every time we ask for a miracle do we see one. Here’s what you need to be careful not to do.
1) Don’t blame yourself or others.
This is easy to do. “Maybe I didn’t pray hard enough. Maybe we didn’t have enough faith,” we say. Don’t go there. It’s not the truth and it’s not helpful to think that way.
2) Don’t blame God.
This is also a common human reaction. Talk to God and lament. Playing the blame game doesn’t help. We live in a broken world and God doesn’t always reverse the natural human order of the consequences of our society’s sin. One day we will live in a new heaven and earth. That time is not yet.
3) Don’t stop asking for them.
It’s easy in the disappointment of not experiencing a miracle to think God will never answer you. This is a mistake. Continue to ask. Keep believing. The next time you pray, a miracle may happen.
Extraordinary Interventions of God
Miracles are exactly that, miracles. They are extraordinary, sovereign interventions of God. The ordinary course of the world and human life is interrupted by Almighty God doing something unusual. God wants us to live supernatural and extraordinary lives. We must ask for miracles and expect that they will be a growing part of our normal lives as disciples of Jesus.
However, we can not demand or expect them of ourselves or God. We ask, we knock, we beseech, we pray in faith and hope for them. And in those amazing times when we see them happen, we give God all the glory.
Do you need a miracle today?
Share in the comments or on the DMM Facebook group. Let’s believe together for God to release His power in and through us!