Mathew 14:18 “Bring them here to me, he said.”
This statement said by Jesus can be found in the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and it can be read in its entirety in Mathew 14: 13-21.
This week I also read Romans 8, and in verse 34 it says “Christ Jesus – who was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Jesus intercedes on our behalf, this intercessory role, he fulfills for us, those who are His. As I was reading this and dwelling on it, I was reminded of Jesus feeding the five thousand. I usually do not immediately associate prayer or Him interceding for us with the story of five thousand. I usually read this passage and am reminded to take the little that I have got, be it talents, time or finances and present it to God and trust that He will ensure to multiply and use it beyond anything we can ever envision.
But what if we take our prayers like the five loaves and two fish to Jesus?
Some situations in life can be huge and overwhelming, most things happening in the world can be so out of our control and we can feel overcome with it all and can think our prayers are barely going to make much of a difference.
I want us to just take a moment and look at the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand through the perspective of prayer and Him interceding on our behalf.
Jesus says in Mathew 14:18 “Bring them here to me.” He is talking about the five loaves and two fish. Let’s take our prayers to God with a confidence that He would take those simple and little prayers we offer and magnify and multiply them in His hands and do so much more than we can ask or imagine.
Let’s back up a bit. Mathew 14:15 says “As evening approached, the disciples came to him (Jesus) and said “This is a remote place, and its already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy some food.”
The disciples were the ones who voiced the need of the people to Jesus. It was not that Jesus was unaware of what the people needed but He acted on it after the disciples brought the need before Him. From the prayer perspective, as disciples of Christ, we are to bring before him the needs of others, those he places in our lives and the happenings in the world. Prayer for others and the world is necessary and it is an important responsibility for us, followers of Christ to present these matters to God in prayer.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul writes “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
We are to pray for others and that pleases God. Our motivation for such prayer should be love and it is a reflection of His character.
When we read further in verse 16, Jesus says “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” We know that the disciples could not provide food for all those people there on their own and Jesus knew it too, then why does he say that.
From the perspective of prayer – the disciples are the ones who were closely walking with Jesus, they are the link and the light pointing people to Jesus. We as His followers have that role to fulfill. By saying that sentence Jesus says You as my followers know where to turn to when there is a need and so you are to point them to me, they need not go anywhere else but they just have to come to me.
The disciples mention the five loaves and the two fish and Jesus asks them to bring them to Him. Likewise, your simple and little prayer, bring it before Jesus, however small and simple it may seem. Remember in whose hands you are placing them.
Take a note of what Jesus says immediately after saying bring the loaves and fish to me. He directed the people to sit down on the grass.
I want us to take note of two words here – directed and sit down.
Who did the directing and made them sit, it was Jesus. This was after He got the loaves and fish but before the miracle happened. Often between the prayers and the answer, there is an all too familiar waiting period. That waiting period is not a period of complaining or taking our focus away from Him and fretting. It is a time to sit at His feet and listen to what He is saying. When we offer our prayers to Him, let us remain focused on what He asks of us. He directs our path during that sitting down (waiting) period. And while we wait, He is working on our behalf, although we might not necessarily see it.
After that Jesus takes the five loaves and two fish, looks up to heaven, gave thanks and broke the loaves and gives them to the disciples (verse 19). He intercedes for us. In his hands our simple words and requests gain the power to make an effect. And like the food that satisfied all and even had left overs – In His hands our prayers even though not perfect, will be made powerful, effective, sufficient and more than what we could ever perceive. Remember that it does not mean all our prayers will be answered. Our prayers have to be aligned to the will and desires of God. And even if they are, they will be answered in His time and in His wisdom.
But I want us to take encouragement from the knowledge that our prayers are heard and Jesus intercedes for us. Satan loves to make us busy enough to not prioritise prayer or feel overcome with the enormity of all that is happening that our natural reaction is to lean towards giving up or feeling like we really cannot make much of a difference through our prayers or actions.
But we serve a powerful, loving and wonderful God. A God who wants us to pray, who wants us to have a part in His mission and kingdom purposes. A God who can take our little pleas and enlivens them with His power. What a wonderful and mighty God we serve.