21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. [NKJV]
Jesus almost seems to be testing this woman. Goading her on to help her to demonstrate her faith. At first He ignores her request which seems to feed into the very strong prejudice that the disciples had towards Canaanites. The disciples rebuke her and urge Jesus to send her away. Then when He does answer her it is on the verge of being insulting, almost feeding into the prejudice; yet she persists through it and eventually Jesus reveals to her and the disciples that she has demonstrated "great faith", thereby facilitating her daughters healing from demon possession.
Are we persistent when requesting something from our Lord? This moment in time was actually nothing new to our Lord. Jacob wrestled with God to the point of physical injury before he was finally given the blessing he sought. (Gen 32:24-30) The Sidonian woman to whom Elijah came (1 Kings 17:18-19) and the Shunammite woman with Elisha (2 Kings 4:28-30) laid their need before a prophet and would not take no for an answer. God answered their prayers with a yes.
Does this mean we should be persistent with every request we make of God? I don't think so. Sometimes we need to rest on the promises He has made to us.
When I consider my own prayers, I realize that I pray more for those things that are already given to me by God (protection, care, finances, etc) and less for the things that I truly desire. (The healing of my autistic son, the return of my daughter to God) It is almost as if I have given up hope that God will ever answer those prayers that would truly bless my life, and instead my prayer life has become powerless and repetitive like the Pharisee on the street corner. I must stop and consider. Do I really believe that God can make a difference in my life, and what does my prayer life reveal as an answer to that question.
My Prayer Today:
Please let me start by apologizing to You LORD for being so shallow and unworthy of You. Forgive me of my sins and make me clean. Help me to see Your power; help me to believe it. You are the Almighty; the Creator of the Universe. You have always been and will always be. Who am I to deny You the power to heal my son or to save my daughter. You have already proven that you will go to the utmost to save even one person; You've proved that in my life, by saving a wretch like me. Lord, please heal my son, and let it be to Your power and Your glory that it is done. Save my daughter from the darkness of the world. Help her to see Your light.
I thank You Lord for all of the answered prayers in my life. I ask for more faith. I ask for Your help in teaching the lesson this coming Sabbath. I thank You for Your providence in my life. Help me to be a good steward of what You have given me. Amen.