Saving Grace

God answers prayers

Leaving that place, Jesus, withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus did now 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 sent only 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 the dogs.”

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. – Matthew 15:21-28

There is a saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Yes, it does because the squeak causes attention to be drawn to it. This suggests that when we want something, we must be persistent.

St. Paul implores us to, “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18) Praying without ceasing means that we should continue praying even though at times, our prayers seem not to be making sense.

In our text, Jesus had withdrawn from the area of Galilee where he did most of his ministry.

He left Jewish territory and went into a foreign territory, the area of Tyre and Sidon.

Even though he had gone into the area incognito, news got around that he was in the area. Consequently, a certain Canaanite woman went to him seeking help for her daughter who was demon possessed.

Initially when the woman approached Jesus, it seemed that he ignored her. Yet, she persisted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

The disciples were somewhat annoyed at her crying after Jesus. Consequently, they urged that he “send her away, for she keeps crying after us.”

This sounds like some of us good Christian people. We get annoyed when the poor and indigent come knocking at the church’s door.

The disciples saw this woman as a nuisance. Therefore, without compassion, they wanted to get rid of her.

Jesus was in a foreign land. Yet, as the woman persisted, he expressed that he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel.

However, this did not deter the woman. She was desperate. Her daughter needed healing. Therefore, out of love for her daughter, she would not give in or be deterred.

Never give up even though it appears that your prayers are not being answered. God hears prayer and will have compassion and give relief.

In desperation, the woman approached him and knelt before him, “Lord, help me!” I could imagine the pleading and desperation in her voice. I believe that Jesus was moved with compassion for this woman.

She was a Gentile woman, a Canaanite, belonging to the ancestral enemies of the Jewish people. If he were to act, he had to use caution. “He must awaken true faith in the woman’s heart. (William Barclays Daily Bible Study, Internet)

Jesus then spoke some unusual words, “it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dog.” This language was contemptuous. However, the tune and way things are said makes a difference.

Harsh things can be said with a disarming smile. We can be assured that the smile on Jesus’ face and the compassion in his eyes robbed the words of all insult and bitterness. (Barclay’s Daily Bible Study)

The woman did not take offense at Jesus’ words. Instead, she was quick to come back with a fitting response. “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

At the woman’s response, Jesus acknowledged her faith. He healed her daughter.

The text is a lesson in persistence. The woman was persistent, and God answered her prayer. He will also answer your prayers. Amen.

• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; website:

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