“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself” (John 6:12-15).
If an answered prayer brings us closer to submission to God’s purposes, then the prayer has served its purpose—to focus on hallowing the Father’s name, to advance the rule of God’s kingdom and for His will to be done on earth as in heaven. Here the prayer for daily bread becomes an extension of “your kingdom come.”
But if answered prayer produces within us a manipulative yearning to see God “do it again,” and He becomes a performer doing encores after the curtain comes down on the show, we enter the realm of demonic power instead of godly submission.
Demons seize hold in order to make others do their will. Demons distract people from the kingdom agenda, promise fulfillment, and in the end remove human freedom. Demonic power manipulates in order to control.
God’s power invites us to come to Him and die with Him that He might accomplish the blessing of the many. Jesus’ ministry is focused on restoring what is lost, on returning people to fullness and to self-giving, that we might be able to choose Him, not based on manipulative demand, but on pure love. The crowd in John 6 didn’t understand that the true bread was to know Christ Himself on Christ’s terms.
Lord Jesus, sometimes I don’t understand how people couldn’t see the truth of all that You are when you did miraculous things as God directed. Rather than being grateful, they wanted more amazing signs and wonders. Your love calls us to die so that we might live. Continue to transform my life to complete fullness of all that You are – not so I will see the miraculous, but so that I will see only You! Draw me towards who You are because of the depth of my love for You, not because of what You do so that I can begin to experience Your miraculous works as part of my every day Christian life!
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise the Lord for being your shepherd (Psalm 23). Give thanks for those refreshing times when you experience “green pastures” and “quiet waters.” Confess any dissatisfaction concerning God’s care for you. Commit yourself to faithfully following the Good Shepherd in every area of your life. Ask God to “strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3).
Ask the Good Shepherd to touch the lives of those who have not yet put their trust in him. Pray that they may experience his loving and redeeming care.