There is nothing more exhausting than ministry. You cannot do it 24/7. There needs to be a time for relaxation and reflection. Jesus knew this and so Mark’s account says, He got in the boat with the disciples and headed off to an area on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The only problem was that the disciples had been so successful that they had attracted quite a following, and a crowd had gathered to greet them when they arrived. But Jesus did not resent the crowds. He welcomed them. In Matthew, we learn that the Lord felt compassion for the crowd.
Aren’t you glad we serve a Lord who is moved when He sees our need? When it was time to eat, there was not enough to feed the crowds. But Jesus performed a miracle with five loaves of bread and two fish.
No details are given about how the miracle occurred. It was not a case of Jesus’ praying and then “presto” there was a mountain of fish and bread. Jesus distributed the food, the apostles delivered it, then they came back and Jesus gave them more and more and more.
When faced with a need, Jesus demonstrated that our first response should be prayer. Let’s look at three characteristics of Jesus’ prayer that resulted in God’s supernatural provision.
1. Pray with gratitude.
The first thing Jesus did was to look up to heaven and bless what He already had. This was not just a nice formality, but an important lesson for all of us. Jesus was reminding Himself and His followers that before we start concentrating on what we don’t have, we should always express gratitude for what we do have, realizing what we already have has come from God’s hand (1 Cor. 4:7).
2. Pray with action.
Jesus had a plan. He organized the crowd into groups, took the resources He had, began to divide them, and gave the food to His disciples in an organized pattern for distribution. So how do we follow Jesus’ example of action?
- If you are looking for a job, pray, yes, but send out some resumes as well.
- If you are trying to break a habit, pray, yes, but exert some effort in changing, as well.
- If you are looking for a Christian mate, pray, yes, but go where Christians hang out, like church.
A.J. Gordon wrote, “You can do more after you have prayed, but you can never do more until you have prayed.” The miracle is that God often does beyond what we are capable of doing, but He does ask us to do our part.
3. Pray with faith.
Pray with faith. Faith that God is able to do more, will do more. The problem with most of us is that we allow our circumstances to determine our prayers. God sometimes has a different plan than our plan, but that should not keep us from praying boldly, then resting quietly in His answer.
Although we often pray with our eye on the circumstances, Jesus prayed with His eye on God. He was looking to heaven. God has so many good things He wants to do for us, so many needs He wants to meet beyond our resources, if only we will have the faith to ask.