The Bible account of the Canaanite woman coming to Jesus for healing for her demon-possessed daughter is a familiar one to many of us. As she cries out to the Messiah, first He pointedly ignores her. But she isn't deterred. Scripture says, "But she came and worshiped Him, pleading again, 'Lord, help me!'" Jesus flatly refuses to help her, and even compares her to a dog because of her heritage. Instead of being insulted and walking away, this determined woman says, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." How does Jesus respond? He declares joyfully, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." The Bible goes on to say, "And her daughter was healed from that very hour." (Matthew 15:27-28 NASB)
The Lord has often led me to this account when I have become discouraged over unanswered prayers. When I have been tempted to settle for less than God's best. When I have begun thinking, "Maybe it's just not God's will for me." When I felt like this recently, the Lord led me to the Message Bible's translation of Matthew 15. The Canaanite woman's response in verse 27 says, "You're right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master's table.'" God spoke to my heart and said that this desperate mother was rewarded because she wasn't too proud to beg for the Savior's intervention. She simply wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.
When I studied this passage out, I discovered that Bible commentators say that this woman was practicing Jesus' own teaching in Luke 18, where He teaches on persevering in prayer using "The Parable of the Persistent Widow." Scripture introduces the Savior's lesson with the statement, "One day Jesus told His disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes." (Luke 18:1 TLB) The fact that Jesus calls the Canaanite woman's faith "great" tells us that her refusal to quit seeking His intervention was pleasing and glorifying to God.
I must tell you that I am not too proud to plead with the Lord when I or my loved ones need His help. Some of my most incredible breakthroughs have come as a result of begging for God's mighty intervention. Jesus commends the Persistent Widow in His parable, and ends His teaching with a profound question - "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8 AMP) What blessings, rewards, and opportunities are you at risk of missing out on if you don't persist in your prayers?
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to have the kind of "great" faith that pleases You most. By Your Spirit, empower me to persevere in prayer when I don't receive my answers as quickly as I would like. Remind me that there are forces in this world that will stop at nothing to hinder the answers to my petitions. Thank You that as I earnestly seek You and Your will for every area of my life, You will shape my prayers and pleas so that they always honor and glorify You!
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