Self-Focused Prayer

John 6:1-27 After this Jesus went over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. It is sometimes called Tiberias. Many people followed Him. They saw the powerful works He did on those who were sick. Jesus went up on a mountain and sat down with His followers. The Passover supper to remember how the Jews left Egypt was soon.

Jesus looked up and saw many people coming to Him. He said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to see what Philip would say. Jesus knew what He would do. Philip said to Him, “The money we have is not enough to buy bread to give each one a little.”

One of His followers was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He said to Jesus, “There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two small fish. What is that for so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was much grass in that place. About five thousand men sat down.

11 Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks. Then He gave the bread to those who were sitting down. The fish were given out the same way. The people had as much as they wanted. 12 When they were filled, Jesus said to His followers, “Gather up the pieces that are left. None will be wasted.” 13 The followers gathered the pieces together. Twelve baskets were filled with pieces of barley bread. These were left after all the people had eaten.

14 The people saw the powerful work Jesus had done. They said, “It is true! This is the One Who speaks for God Who is to come into the world.”

15 Jesus knew they were about to come and take Him to make Him king, so He went to the mountain by Himself. 16 When evening had come, His followers went down to the lake. 17 They got into a boat and started to cross the lake to go to the city of Capernaum. By this time it was dark. Jesus had not come back to them yet. 18 A strong wind was making high waves on the lake. 19 They were about half way across the lake when they saw Jesus walking on the water. As He got near the boat, they were afraid. 20 But Jesus called to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” 21 They were glad to take Him into the boat. At once they got to the other side where they wanted to go.

22 The next day the people on the other side of the lake saw no other boat there but the one His followers had been in. The people knew Jesus had not gone with His followers in the boat because they had gone alone. 23 There were other boats from Tiberias that had come near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 The people saw that Jesus and His followers were not there. They got into boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

 

25 The people found Him on the other side of the lake. They said to Him, “Teacher, when did You come here?” 26 Jesus said to them, “For sure, I tell you, you are not looking for Me because of the powerful works. You are looking for Me because you ate bread and were filled. 27 Do not work for food that does not last. Work for food that lasts forever. The Son of Man will give you that kind of food. God the Father has shown He will do this.”

Which interests you more—who Jesus is or what He can do for you? I’m afraid many of us are more concerned about what He gives than discovering who He is. But this is nothing new. When Jesus walked the earth, the crowds often sought Him out for what He could do for them. Even though their needs were quite often legitimate, Christ knew their motives.

There is a fine line between using the Lord to get what we want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Sometimes issues are so urgent in our mind that instead of submitting to His will, we’d rather pray for Him to act in the way we want. Then, what might appear to be “faith” is really a demanding spirit.

If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, we’ve missed a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we’ll spend eternity. How much of your communion with God is devoted to your needs—even legitimate ones? Are you getting to know the Lord? Although God delights in our prayers and the details of our life, He also wants us to enjoy His presence.

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