Scripture | Luke 18:1
“Men ought to pray and not lose heart”
It is easy to say we have faith when we receive immediate answers to our prayers. But what happens to our faith when instead of answered prayers, our faith is tested with discouragements or delays? Do we begin to doubt God and waver in our faith? Or do we stand firm in our faith until we receive an answer to our prayers?
Mathew 15:21-28 (NASB) tells of a woman who made a request to Jesus whose faith was tested and she did not waver in her faith. While the Bible does not tell her name, she was described as a “ Canaanite woman,” a Gentile. As Jesus and His disciples were coming out of the coast of Tyre and Sidon, she came out and cried out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” Jesus did not answer her a word. The disciples begged Jesus to send her away because she kept shouting at them. Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The woman came and bowed down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me”. Jesus answered, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord: but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish…” and her daughter was healed at once.
The woman made a request to Jesus for her daughter to be healed. But instead of an immediate answer, she received some delays. First, Jesus did not answer her. Secondly, the disciples begged Jesus to send her away. Third, Jesus told her he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And lastly, while not degrading her, he told her it was not good to throw the children’s food to the dogs (a term used by the Jews to describe Gentiles). These delays tested her faith but did not make her waver in her faith. After the first three delays, she did not give up but came and worshipped Him saying “Lord, help me.” Upon hearing Jesus’ response, she agreed with Jesus, that she was a dog, but she could still feed on the crumbs that fell from the master’s table. Seeing her faith, Jesus answered her request and her daughter was healed.
How do we react when we experience delays to our prayers being answered? Are we like this woman, persistent and unwavering in our faith? Or do we allow the delays to cause us to doubt and fear that we will not get an answer? Do we stop praying and just give up? Luke 18:1 states, “Men ought to pray and not lose heart.” (NASB) Although at times there will be delays, we must not give up and continue to trust God for an answer to our prayers.
As we fast, let us be like the Canaanite woman—persistent in prayer and unwavering in our faith. Let us remember that God honors faithfulness and His promise to us is that He does hear and answer our prayers. Don’t be discouraged when an immediate answer is not received, but continue to be persistent in prayer. Let us be like the Canaanite woman and stay in His presence; be humble before Him and take time to worship Him.
Dear God, I pray that I will not waver in my faith as I wait for You to answer my prayer. You told me that all things work together for my good; let even the discouragements or delays work for my good. Let me use those situations to cause me to stay in Your presence and trust You the more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.