Today, the first Thursday of May, is our country’s National Day of Prayer. While this day was officially enacted by President Truman in 1952, this idea of setting aside time and energy to simply talk to God is nothing new. In honor of our country still taking a stand for our freedom of faith and prayer, I’d like to set a challenge for myself and others.
In the popular story of Jesus and the fishes and two loaves, we see a miracle that many are familiar with. Jesus was met with a “great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). After such a sight, it must have been difficult to just walk away and go home back to one’s regular ol’ life. If I had been sick, or had a sick loved one, and witnessed Jesus heal them right before my eyes, I would like to stick around and see what this man might have to say about anything else that I might be able to take with me.
As it appears, the great multitude must have felt the same, and the disciples were not so happy about it. After all the healings and miracles, the day was near an end. Matthew 14 goes on to say that the disciples went up to Jesus and suggested that he send them all away so they could go home and eat. They had NO plan on figuring out a way to feed them all themselves. What they didn’t know, though, was that Jesus was not done with His miracles just yet. They found the renowned loaves and fishes and Jesus multiplied them so that 5,000 men, PLUS women and children, were filled up.
WHAT A SIGHT! I would imagine that as a disciple, or even a witness of such an event, I’d be on cloud nine. What a victory! What might! But let’s keep reading to see what Jesus did next!
Matthew 14:22-23 "And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitude away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."
In John 6, it explains that Jesus had perceived that some of the multitude were going to try and whisk him away to be their king. He sent away the disciples and the multitude and went off alone with the Almighty. His response to the event was unlike any we might come up with on our own. After such a victory, perhaps we’d be whooping and hollering. If we were part of the 12 disciples, we’d be rehashing our favorite parts of the whole thing. We’d bask in the glow of what a success that night ended up being.
Yet, Jesus, always discerning, always aware, had his eyes wide open and turned to God. Surely, he could have had a full night celebrating with his disciples or even performing more miracles, but he determined that he ought to set himself apart in God’s company sooner, rather than later. Earlier, in vs. 13, we see that Jesus sought out solitude after hearing of John the Baptist’s death as well.
We can see then, that rather than letting Himself get caught up in the emotions of the moment, whether elation or sorrow, Jesus was always mindful to seek God first. My challenge is simple, O Souls. Let’s ask ourselves, and answer honestly: When we are met with great victories and joyful moments, do we praise God and give Him the glory first? And when we are in the low of lows, when sorrow surrounds us, do we entreat God’s intervention and peace?
Let’s arise O Souls, on this National Day of Prayer and set down with God to thank Him for all the good He does, and entreat Him for His mercy and provision for the condition of our nation, our leaders, our loved ones, and even for ourselves.