( LESSONS ON PRAYER & FAITH)
1. The Lord Jesus heard but ignored the woman’s cry for help. This didn’t stop her from crying out. Don’t stop praying even if God seems to ignore your plea. Everyone experiences that period in prayer or spiritual journey when it seems that God is oblivious of your presence and travails. St John of the Cross calls it the “dark night of the soul”. It can be unsettling to know that God hears but does absolutely nothing. Jesus had his own dark night at the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. It peaked with his cry of Eloi Eloi Lama sabacthani. At this point, don’t stop praying
2. Jesus made some seemingly uncomplimentary remarks that should hurt the woman’s ego. She heard them but responded gracefully. Don’t react with negativity to the unpleasant things that life throws at you. When people and circumstances throw unpleasant stuff at you, be courageous enough to respond with grace. Don’t allow circumstances change your attitude, be always nice, positive and gracious I’m the face of provocation. It was as if Jesus deliberately tried to offend the woman bit she kept her cool, be cool
3. The woman came close and now had a conversation with Jesus. I love this scene. Initially, she was shouting or crying out in loud voice, but the moment she came close to Jesus, she SPOKE instead of SHOUTING. Shouting can be the result of distance. Ordinarily when you are far from someone and wants his or her attention, you must neccesarily shout. When you are close, you speak in audible but low tone. I have seen drama of Christians shrieking and howling during prayer sessions. I don’t want to sound disrespectful to people’s preference or style, but some of the shootings are effects of distance. When you are close to God, you don’t need to shout in prayer, this must be what Jesus meant in Mt 6 when he talked about praying in the secret of your home. Draw close to God and lose some unnecessary dramas we have been taught to do at prayers. When you are close to God, prayer becomes conversational instead of confrontational.
4. Jesus saw her faith and granted her desire. Faith was what Jesus was looking for from her, once he got it, he had no reason to withhold the answer to her prayers. Once God sees what he’s looking for from you, your prayer is answered. Faith makes prayer work and not vice versa. Work on your faith instead of phonetics and copying of prayer styles. You can copy prayer methods but not faith, and faith is what makes the difference. Grow your faith, walk more closely with the Holy Spirit.
5. Her daughter was delivered of demon from a distance. Wow, that’s like the only time in the Bible that demon was cast out without the possessed coming into contact with the minister, all because of faith. Here is the deal, when next someone invites you to come and see a “powerful man or woman of God” to solve your problem, tell the person you don’t have to go, let the minister send the word and your faith will finish the job. Miracles happen where there is faith.
So, let’s grow in our prayer and faith like the Canaanite woman. May you receive answer to your prayers in the name of Jesus Christ.
Rev Fr Oluoma Chinenye John