“After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.” (Mark 6: 46)
Jesus has just fed the five thousand and sent his disciples off in a boat. It has been a hard day’s work and now he goes to the Father in prayer. This whole episode started with prayer as he gave thanks for the few loaves and fish before passing it out to the multitude.
This is what I call a sandwich prayer. Jesus prays to start the activity and then closes it with prayer at the end. So often we pray and pray for God to do something for us. When God resolves the situation for us (as may be best for us) we take it and go. Maybe God doesn’t hear from us again until the next crisis. But in this case with the feeding Jesus was praying for the work he has done, not for any new favors or life improvements or the next big thing but for the welfare of others that they might be truly fed with the Spirit. This too is a misunderstanding we sometimes make. When we receive unexpected opportunities like the chance to help somebody we should do it in a prayer sandwich. Pray to ask for God’s help at the start. Do the task, and then give God thanks for the opportunity just received. This is a perfect sandwich. Yum Yum!
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.