Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
-- Matthew 15:21~28
Do you have an urgent need, a pressing problem that needs to be addressed ASAP, or a crisis that is out of hand? And in the face of your trials in life you feel that you can’t do it alone, and that you need the hands of God to work in your life to bring you out of your situation now, but you are not sure how?
The story of the Canaanite woman in today’s Bible passage reveals at least two keys to help us receive a positive answer from God for our prayers to Him.
A Stretched Heart
Jesus taught us to do two very basic things – To love God, and To love our neighbors as much as ourselves. The drawing below illustrates this point visually.
If this is who you are now (The red box represents your heart now.),
you are called to be stretched.
God wants us to stretch our heart to the left, and to the right. God desires that we connect to Him and to our fellow men. God mandates us to worship Him, and to serve others. In the process, we become a bridge of God's blessings to our brothers in Christ who needs help.
So to have our prayers answered by God, we have to become a person with a stretched heart. The Canaanite woman cared for her daughter, and humbly asked for Jesus help; she had the right cause and the she approached the right person in Jesus.
What about little me? Can I ask God to grant my own personal dreams in life?
Of course you can. God is like a good and loving father who is willing to grant his children’s requests as long as it’s good for them. In God’s vocabulary, good means a closer relationship with Him, and a closer relationship with others. A closer relationship with Him means good health, inner peace, joy, courage, wisdom, and eternal salvation. A closer relationship with other people means harmony, prosperity, and personal success. Interesting? God wants you to succeed. However, you should not succeed only for yourself, you should succeed for others too. You see, selfishness and self-centeredness has no place in God's kingdom.
Greed will be your downfall.
A Single-minded Belief in the Awesome Power, and Bottomless Mercy of God
When you pray you should firmly believe that God will answer your prayer because He loves you as one of His creations, His children. The Canaanite woman did, and for that her prayer for her daughter was instantly answered. The "enemy" wants you to doubt God's love and mercy for you, and to question your own importance to God. Don't believe his lies.
God is awesomely powerful.
God is wonderfully merciful.
And God answers your prayers.
Finally, God's way is to use other people to bless your prayers. In return, God will ask you to share your blessings to others, and to become the answer to their prayers. In short, we should all become a large network of bridges to channel His blessings to the less fortunate ones. In doing so, we will also be tremendously blessed, and we will have a glimpse of what it's like in Heaven.