Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
But He answered and said, “ I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
But He answered and said, “ It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Matt 15:21-28
Today we finish our study of the Syro-Phonecean woman by briefly looking at one more lesson that we can learn – Intercession.
Now jesus spoke several key times about prayer. In what is called ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ we hear the words, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Our prayers need to be in the will of God.
It is no good praying for God to help you to rob a bank because you need money. His will is expressed throughout the Bible – do not steal. Don’t pray for an accident to happen to your boss so they quit, move on or change. God is love. He isn’t going to smite someone for your personal gain.
Don’t be praying for someone else partner to leave them and be with you. God is not into adultery. These are all things that I have come across, people praying their will and not the Father’s will. You will be praying a long time. He won’t answer something that is out side of His will.
Ask, seek and knock we read. Either Jesus is a liar or He told the truth, and if He told the truth what He actually said is, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Now when we read ‘Ask’ it doesn’t mean say it once. The present continuous tense that the original greek uses means ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking. Now, I don’t know about you but I think that is exactly what the woman did with Jesus.
She knew that healing was in His will. The stories about Him would have traveled far and wide. Everyone would have know someone who had been healed, or they would have know of someone who had met with Jesus.
She was persistent. He ignored her but she kept going. He refused her but she kept going. He challenged her but she kept going. Finally He answered her and she received her prayer. Now I am not out to condemn anyone here. Please do not hear what I am not saying. I am not saying, “you haven’t prayed enough so thats why you aren’t healed. its your fault…” I am not saying that.
What I am saying is this, “It is God’s will to heal us all. If we are not healed it is not down to a lack of will or ability from God.” I can’t speak for you I can only speak for me. I have a couple of health needs that regular readers of this devotional will know about.
I pray a lot about them. I know the scriptures on healing, I read them regularly, I listen to them, I speak them out. I teach on them. I believe God can heal. I have seen it happen. I have had it happen. And yet, still I have needs. Why? If I am honest with you and myself, I have to question, am I like this woman? Am I like Bartimaeus or the leper or the centurion.
Am I before Jesus, with no other options. All in, there is no other way out of this except my being healed. When I ache, do I focus on on my ache, wondering if it is this condition or that, mentally scanning for more aches, wondering how I can get through the day, thinking here we go, planning how I am going to cope or do I turn straight to the Word, declaring life and health, proclaiming victory, expecting healing?
I take a daily pill from the doctor. Do I take the healing scriptures daily? I say that I am all about being healed, but am I? Is my diet and exercise right? Am I doing all that I can to position myself before God so that He can do all He can?
That is what the Syro-Phonecean woman did. There is no doubt is there. She positioned herself before Jesus on her knees with only one outcome in mind and she wasn’t leaving until that outcome was realised. I wonder what would happen if next Sunday, after the service in the ministry time, I went to the front for prayer and declared in faith, “we are not going home until I am healed.” Oh that I had the courage! But that is in effect what this woman and all those in the Bible that we read about have done!
Another great intercessory passage is found in Genesis. God is going to bring judgement to Sodom and Gomorrah. The Angel of the Lord stopped at Abraham’s on the way down to those cities. The reality of judgement was weighing heavy on His mind as He told Abraham what had to happen.
Abraham doesn’t sit there and agree about the sin. Discuss the issue and remedies. He immediately asks, “Isn’t there another way?” What if 50 righteous are found? Would you stay your hand then?” Abraham knew that God’s will, His heart, was love and Abraham was speaking to the Will of God, declaring in effect, Your will be done here as it is in heaven” Abraham discussed this with God all the way down to ten people. One wonders if he had kept going if those towns would have been spared.
Now the point of this is to highlight that God Has a will, and as co-heirs with Christ we are in the position to speak to this will. We are not out to change God’s mind on something, we are out to declare His mind. Our friends, colleagues and neighbours who need salvation are not under God’s judgement through His choice. They are there through their choice. It is up to us to declare,”Your kingdom come, Your will be done in their lives as it is in heaven.”
That is what the woman did. Some people say that this story highlights an argument with Jesus. That He didn’t want her daughter healed but somehow she coerced Him with argument to change His mind. No! God always wants us healed. When we pray like this, we are standing in the gap, the gap between their worldly reality and God’s heavenly reality.
We are declaring the ultimate truth over peoples lives. We are proclaiming life over them. As we do this, our words and our faith push out the darkness from around them. We are speaking light and life over them and creating the atmosphere through our will that allows the holy Spirit to enter that situation bringing Father’s will.
This is what we are called to do. We are called to pray for our loved ones, our neighbours, our colleagues. We are called to declare God’s will over their lives. We are to declare salvation, deliverance and healing over them in faith. We are to do this for ourselves too. ‘All in’, on our knees. Worshipping God. Praying with thanksgiving and without ceasing.
Let us learn from this woman today. Let us come before Jesus and declare His goodness over ourselves and those around us and let us keep doing so until we see ourselves and them receive His blessing in full. Amen.
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