By Nicholas Morley
“THEN Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil’. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and brought him, saying, ‘Send her away; for she crieth after us’. But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, help me’. But he answered and said, ‘It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.’ And she said, ‘Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table’. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour’.” (Matthew 15:21-28;KJV)
The Gentile woman – Syrophoenician by blood according to Mark chapter 7 – was among the few women whose faith caught Jesus’ attention, which leads me to think that she had to have been preparing herself to see Him.
Perhaps before her daughter fall sick she longed to meet Jesus and to sit at His feet. Perhaps she studied the messianic prophecies of the old scriptures that boosted her faith.
Fortunately, the unfortunate event of her daughter falling sick increased her desire to seek Him. What can we learn from this woman’s great faith? How can we apply this style of worship to our prayer life?
Whatever it may be that causes you to seek God more than ever before, count it as a blessing. It may be sickness or a bad divorce. It may be a promotion or a His continuous goodness towards you. In this Gentile woman’s case, this went beyond selfishness and personal gain. If she needed to seek the Lord, the time was now. As she waited for Jesus to pass by, her patience spoke to the wonderful work the Holy Spirit was doing in her life. Which brings us to our five-step programme:
Step 1 – Anytime is the
right time to pray
Christ invites us to pray anywhere and anytime we feel the need to. We can say a prayer at our desk, in the car, or even in our minds whenever we have a quiet moment or a tough one. In this case, the Gentile woman waited on Jesus to pass by. Not bothered at all by the company with Him, she cried unto Him as if they were alone. She cried unto Him as if she were in her comfort place at home. She cried unto Him as if she had a relationship with Him. It was as if she had heard Christ say, “that a man ought to always pray and not faint. (Luke 18:1) This always suggests that we must bring everything to God in prayer, anywhere and at any time.
Step 2 – Knowing
who He is
This is a very important part of the prayer, and the reason for this is not because God is egotistical, but it helps to remind us who we’re praying to and also it helps us to keep the faith, even in prayer. Her cry for Jesus to have mercy on her showed that she knew He was merciful. When she addressed him as ‘Lord, the son of David’, it showed that she had studied scripture, and knew that the Christ would of come out of David’s lineage. It is also important to note that without this step, it would be impossible to go to step 3, simply because without the study of scripture, it is pointless.
Step 3 – Knowing what
After presenting her petition to Jesus, she thought it necessary to claim His promises through her persistence. After she had made known her need of Jesus’ intervention, He deliberately not answer her, just to test her faith further. Sometimes when we feel as if God is not there, let us not be afraid to urge God a little more, praying until something happens. Through her persistence, she reminded God of what He said through the Apostle Paul:“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) It is through these promises that one finds comfort, knowing that your prayers will be answered.
Step 4 – Humility
The problem today is that those that pray forget the most vital part about prayer, and that is humility. In the Gentile woman’s case, she humbled herself by recognising that she is a sinner. Not refuting or getting angry with Jesus when He called her by her nickname (dog). She embraced it. She also recognised that a dog/sinner is nothing without their master. What gave her comfort is that she knew that the crumbs of grace can only be supplied by her master if she stuck close to him, and it is the same with us. Yet if we do not recognise that we are sinners, and daily lean on Jesus for renewable mercy and grace, and if we regard inequity in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers. (Psalms 66:18)
Step 5 – Walking in
obedience to His Word
This by far is the most difficult thing a Christian struggles with. It is not just difficult, but another vital piece missing from a life of prayer. A life of obedience to God’s Word is the foundation to a life of answered prayers. When Jesus bid the Gentile woman farewell, she could of gone elsewhere to seek help. Walking in disbelief now, she could of easily rejected Jesus’ words, thus wasting her own time. Yet many of us are like that. We would come off of our knees after just seeking God for help and then seek help elsewhere, defeating the purpose of prayer.
However, this woman decided to walk in obedience. As she went home she saw that her daughter was now well. Can you imagine how she felt on the way home? Joy, hope and anticipation filled her soul. Perhaps her cup of excitement was so runneth over that she could have given some away. And that’s what happens when we come off of our knees, walking in humility, faith and obedience to God’s Word. Let us incorporate this style of worship into our prayer life and our lives in general.