Answered Prayer: What God Expects From Us

When our prayers don’t get answered we start to question a lot of things. But the story of the Canaanite woman from the New Testament teaches us that there is only one thing that God expects from us.

When I struggle with my faith, and it seems like my prayers aren’t being answered, I often start to wonder what is causing the problem. Could it be that I’m not good enough? Should I have spent more time reading my Bible? Going to church? On my knees? But when I look at the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28 I see that there is only one answer.

When we read the story we see that she came to Jesus and cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” (Matthew 15:22) But Jesus completely ignored her. It seemed that no matter what happened, no matter what Jesus did, she was determined to see her daughter healed.

It finally got to the point that the disciples begged Jesus to send her away. Jesus finally said to her that He had been sent to the lost sheep of Israel, and that, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” (Matthew 15:26)

If you think about it, that’s a pretty rude thing to say, and it is definitely not politically correct. Had Jesus done this in our day and age the news media would have had a field day. I can see the headline now: Jewish Rabbi Calls Women Dogs!But nothing that Jesus said was going to stop her. She looked at Jesus and replied, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” When Jesus answered her, He said something that He only says twice in the Gospels; he told her that her faith was great.

With all that I often worry about, and the times that I question my faith in God, this story tells me that there is only one thing that I need to have in order for my prayers to be answered: Faith.

This woman wasn’t even a child of God, but Jesus didn’t expect her to repent of her sins and convert to Judaism. All He expected was that she have faith. The kind of faith that could withstand what seemed like rude and unloving behavior.

When I look at my prayer life I have to ask: What kind of faith do I have? Do I have the kind of faith that God expects me to have? Is my faith the kind that will withstand whatever is thrown at it and still remain steadfast?I find it interesting that when Peter got out of the boat and walked on water, that Jesus accused him of having “little faith.” The rest of the disciples sat in the boat, Peter was the only one that had enough faith to walk on the water. But Jesus loved him enough to point out that he had let his doubts stop him (Matthew 14:31). When he focused his attention on the wind and the waves, he had allowed his doubts to win the battle in his mind and his faith had faltered.

If a woman who only deserved the crumbs that fell from the masters’ table could get her prayers answered because of her steadfast faith, what does that mean to God’s children who are seated at His table?It means that we should never doubt God’s love and provision for us. He will always answer our prayers and all that He expects from us is that we have faith, the kind of faith that never quits.

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