Read Matt 15:21–39
Mat 15:21-29 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. (22) And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” (23) But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” (24) He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (25) But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” (26) And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (27) She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (28) Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (29) Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there.
You might think Jesus is being a little rude here. She’s a person after all even though she’s not a Jew. Jesus ought to treat her with a little dignity. But no, that is not the way of the Lord. For she’s pretending to be a Jew, but it doesn’t get past Jesus. “O Lord, Son of David” she cries, well she isn’t even a Samaritan who are half-Israelite. When Jesus does get around to not ignoring her he tells her that she’s not part of his mission. He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. To top it off, Jesus calls her a dog even after she prostrates and humbles herself before him. But this is one smart cookie. She believes Jesus is able to help her. She is unwilling to believe he will not help her. So she takes Jesus at his word and turns it against Jesus. If I’m a dog I should get scraps. I’m not looking to sit at the table. I just want what falls from the table. To this Jesus is amazed at her faith and indeed says great is her faith. Jesus only says this about a few people in the gospels and all of them aren’t Jews. So Jesus gives her what she desired.
So what about you? Is Jesus ignoring you? Are you pretending to be something you are not? Are you praying and asking for things based on what God says about you and what He says about Himself? Are you still not getting what you want? Jesus may be purifying your faith. You may have lots of pride still and you may not have humbled yourself before the Almighty One. It is not as if your Father in heaven does not care for you. But he will answer your prayer in the manner, fashion, time, amount etc. that is best for His kingdom. But also test our faith at times because He wants to strengthen it. He wants to purify it. And the testing of metal only comes with tribulation and fire and so does our faith.
Secondly, when we pray, we need to pray what God has said in his word. That is what the woman did. Based on what Jesus said she made her request. On what basis are your prayers? Or you simply asking for things to fulfill the desires of the flesh? Upon what promise or nature of God is your petition based?
Heavenly Father, grant us such a faith in Christ that we may be like the pagan woman who prayed to your son Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.