The Prayer God Answers

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Matthew 15:25 .. Then came {the woman of Canaan} and worshiped {Jesus}, saying, Lord, help me.

Christians ought to be praying people. It is by prayer that we enter the Kingdom of God. We obey the Scripture.

Romans 10:9-13 … if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

By prayer the Spirit of God comes to us. By prayer we enter the Family of God. When we fail – and we often fail – it is by prayer we repent and realign ourselves to God.

When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus, he prayed. “Jesus, may I come?” The Master replies, “Come!” Peter takes a step of faith, and begins to walk on water. Then his humanity shows. He looks at the water and begins to sink. Peter prayed quickly,

Matthew 14:30 … Lord, save me!

And immediately “Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Peter” (Matthew 15:31). Jesus loves to answer prayer. Oh, how our God loves to answer prayer. But we must pray. The Scripture tells us:

James 4:2-3 … ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

God would answer our prayers, if we actually believed in prayer. You say, “But preacher, I do believe in prayer”. Do you? Do you pray daily, frequently? Do you ask God to accompany you before you begin your journey? Do you hold God in your consciousness asking, seeking, and knocking” (Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13)?

Trials Drive Us Into The Arms Of Christ

As I get older, I am more appreciative of the trials that my Lord God allows me to go through. It was through the blessed trial of pain that I endured in 1983 that I learned how sweet it is to pray. If you are a Christian, trials come to prove and strengthen your faith. If you are not a Christian, trials drive you toward the arms of Christ.

Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

Jesus went thence”. Jesus had been in the area of Gennesaret, a region southwest of Capernaum. While Jesus was in this area the Bible says:

Matthew 14:36 {all that were diseased begged Jesus}, that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

There was no power in the hem of His garment – the power was in Jesus. They believed so much in Jesus that they believed contact with His clothing alone would bring healing. As humans, sometimes we need a physical thing to focus on while believing in God. When Paul preached, the Bible says:

Acts 19:11-12 NKJV … even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

And when Peter preached:

Acts 5:15 NKJV … they brought the sick out into the streets and laid [them] on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.

When you come to God in faith, the Lord rewards with blessing. Many were healed in

{Jesus} departed into the coasts of TYRE AND SIDON”.

Gennesaret and Capernaum are primarily peopled by Jews. It is possible that some Gentiles came to Jesus, but I doubt it based upon what occurs next. Jesus leaves Gennesaret and goes toward the Phonetician cities of Tyre and Sidon. The Phoneticians were unbelievers in God, idolaters. These two Gentile cities, are some 50 miles away from Gennesaret.

Why would Jesus go 50 miles on foot – a long journey – into decidedly Gentile territory? Because Jesus knew there was a woman there that need His help.

I am shocked that anyone who is a Christian would harbor racism in their hearts. Jesus Christ was never racist. If He were racist, then the Gentiles – that’s any of you who are NOT Jews – would have never been saved. Jesus Christ came to this earth for everyone, because everyone is broken. We are all under a sin curse, a universal blemish brought on humanity by Adam’s poor choice.

John 3:16 For God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God gave up His Beloved Son Jesus so that the WORLD would have an opportunity to be saved and adopted into the Family of God. Jesus gave His life on Calvary that WHOSOEVER, regardless of skin color, could have everlasting life. The Jewish crowd probably did not follow Jesus as He headed toward Gentile territory. The Romano-Jewish Historian Titus Flavius Josephus wrote:

Of the Phoenicians, the Tyrians have the most ill-feeling towards us.”

Yet Jesus went that way. He wanted to show us something. We read:

Matthew 15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto {Jesus}

The Evangelist Mark calls this woman “a Syrophenician by nation” (Mark 7:26), which would mean that she came from southern Lebanon. The woman is not a Jew. The Canaanites were the ancient enemies of Israel. They occupied the Promised Land before Israel came, and were life long enemies.

Trials Bring Us To A Place Of Humility

Matthew 15:22 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.

God bless the trial that brings us to our knees, for here is where we will find our God. God despises pride. There are seven sins that God considers abominations:

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 a proud look, …

and PRIDE is the first on His list of things despised. God hates pride. God says:

Proverbs 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord…

God can work with a broken vessel, but He can do nothing with a vessel filled with self, with pride.

Proverbs 8:13 … {the Lord said} Pride and arrogance and the evil way

And the perverse mouth I hate.

God hates pride because it inoculates us against Him. The Scribes and Pharisees were great scholars of the Scripture, but never used it as God intended because of pride.

Pride makes God a man, and man a God.

Pride blinds the one who has it. Pride asks, “Is it I Who will betray You, dear Jesus?” while looking not at oneself but at those around you. Pride deflects the blessings of God, for it is a clenched fist and a stiff and unbowing attitude. The great author C.S. Lewis stated:

According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”

The wicked, in his pride, will not seek after God, nor will he even think of God” (my paraphrase of Psalm 10:4). This Gentile woman has not come to Jesus in pride. She cries out:

Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

She did not say, “You’ve healed in Capernaum – now heal us here in Tyre”. She did not demand of God when she asked. She plead her case based on mercy. We have all been blessed by the mercy of God. The Bible says:

Matthew 5:45 … {God} maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

We have neither earned nor deserved the great gift of life that our Creator has given us. Yet many of us will not even acknowledge God in the slightest of ways. This woman was a Gentile from a pagan, idolatrous society. Yet the trial she is going through with her child has given her awareness of need. She needs the Lord. She begs the Lord to help.

Jesus, You are Lord. Jesus, You are the Son of David, the rightful heir to God’s Kingdom. You are, Jesus. Please, my daughter is grievously vexed by a demon. Help me, Lord, I plead”.

When We Pray, There Are Times
When God Seems Silent

Matthew 15:23 But {Jesus} answered her not a word. …

Though this woman pleads with Jesus loudly and repeatedly, for this is the Imperfect Tense which can mean repeated action, Jesus answers her NOT A WORD. He does not acknowledge her in any way. This is very strange.

When Peter walked on the water and, looking away from Jesus, started to sink, he cried out “Lord, save me!”. The Bible says:

Matthew 14:31 … and IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him …

This is a pattern throughout the New Testament. When someone in need calls out to Jesus, our Lord acts immediately. There are only two instances that I can think of when Jesus delayed answering prayer: here, and when His friend Lazarus lay dying (John 11:6).

When A Person Prayed To Jesus, Grabbing Hold Of The Mercy Seat, Jesus Usually Responded With Mercy.
Why Does He Ignore This Woman?

Because Jesus wanted His disciples to see what genuine faith is. Genuine faith in God persists in prayer, even when God seems silent. Genuine faith humbles itself before God, willing to love Him even if His response is delayed. We are told in:

Colossians 4:2 … Continue {persist} in prayer …

Jesus even gave us a parable on persisting in prayer. We read:

Luke 18:1-7 {Jesus} spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

If we would be blessed of God, we should ask, and keep on asking until God answers us. Sometimes God will answer our prayers with a “no”. When He does, then “no” is what’s best for us. When God seems silent, however, we should be like this woman. Keep on praying. Keep on asking. Her child was suffering, and she wanted mercy. She continued to pray.

Seek The Heart Of God In Prayer

Matthew 15:23 But {Jesus} answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

As this woman is praying, seeking Jesus’ help, those closest to Him were saying, “send her away, Lord. She is disturbing us!”. There is some debate in the commentaries what this statement means. The SonicLight Commentary states:

The disciples probably wanted Jesus to heal the woman’s daughter so she would stop bothering them.”

The easiest thing for Jesus to do would be to grant her wish. Jesus responded not to the woman, but to His disciples when He said:

Matthew 15:24 … I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

In the first half of Christ’s ministry Jesus came to the Jews FIRST. God made a promise to Abraham, the father of the Israelites, and promised to send Messiah through Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). God made a promise to King David that a son would come from His lineage that would be the Messiah (2 Samuel 7). When Jesus Christ entered this world through a Jewish mother, with a lineage that traced back to Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-28), this was God’s fulfillment of His promise. When Jesus sent His disciples out, the scripture says:

Matthew 10:5-6 … Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The Apostle Paul also said:

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

It was not yet time for Jesus to be healing Gentiles. Though He had previously healed a Centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13) this Gentile woman comes to Jesus while He is in Gentile, not Jewish, territories.

The woman was persistent. She sought the heart of God in her prayer.

Matthew 15:25 Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Then came she – she drew near by faith

and worshiped Him – she humbled herself before Christ

and prayed – “Lord, help me”

Did Jesus immediately meet her need? No. Jesus actually belittled the woman. He said:

Matthew 15:26 .. It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

Word Study “I have come for the Children, not the Canaanites. I can’t take the Children’s bread and cast it to DOGS.” The term “Dog” is used in the Bible to describe the unbeliever. When Jesus was crucified it was prophesied:

Psalms 22:16 For DOGS have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

Dogs or unbelievers will not be in Heaven one day. John wrote:

Revelation 22:14-15 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For WITHOUT {Heaven} ARE DOGS

If there was any pride in this woman, at this point it would have reared it’s head. Yet the woman plead with Christ.

Matthew 15:27 … And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the DOGS eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

She did not argue nor demand, but said “Lord, even the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table”. She humbled herself before Christ. Jesus wanted His disciples to see and learn from this encounter. The Gospel is not just for one group of people, but for all people. Jesus Christ came for all.

Matthew 15:28 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.

The woman was blessed because she showed GREAT FAITH toward God. When we approach God in faith when we are tried, and call upon Him, claiming His promises as our own, our faith grows from little faith to great faith.

Little faith waits on a sign.

Great faith seeks out the Savior.

Little faith has too high an opinion of itself.

Great faith has the right opinion of God.

Little faith is effected by its surroundings.

Great faith keeps it’s eyes on Christ.

Little faith gives up in discouragement too quickly.

Great faith refuses to be discouraged, but pursues Christ.

This woman’s great faith did something else as well. When her child was healed we are told:

Matthew 15:30-31 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: 31 insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

Great multitudes of Gentiles came to Jesus after the healing of this woman’s daughter. Her faith was much like the faith of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-30). Her faith triggered a massive revival among the Gentiles in that area, planting the seed of Christ’s future Church. When we seek God in prayer, and honor Him in our lives, God uses us to bring revival in the land. Brothers and sisters, in these days our land desperately needs Jesus. Let us live for Him, seeking His face in prayer moment by moment, until the day we meet Him in glory.

May God’s Spirit touch your hearts and minds with His Word. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Matthew, Sermon Series "Red Letters", Sermons Preached and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Prayer God Answers

  1. Pingback: The 4000 And The 5000 |

Comments are closed.