Persevering in Prayer

And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs. Mk. 7:28

This is the answer of the Syrophenician woman to the comment of our Lord that it was not fitting to take the children's bread and feed it to the dogs (27). She had asked him to free her daughter from a demon (26) and this was his response! Yet she persisted; she not only persisted but did so with a faith and a humility that can only be described as remarkable. I have no doubt that when many moderns read this passage or hear of it, they probably want to accuse Jesus of ethnocentrism or misogyny or just a plain lack of empathy and quickly write him off as unworthy of trust or obedience. But not so this woman!

Every time I read this passage, it reminds me of something Jonathan Edwards wrote: "Jacob and the Syrophenician woman met with great discouragements while they were seeking a blessing, but they persevered and obtained their request." Indeed, she did obtain her request: "And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter" (29).

Too often we ask something of the Lord or seek him for a blessing, but let off as soon as we encounter some difficulty or if it looks as if the Lord will not immediately answer with a yes. So let us learn a lesson from this woman of faith: let us persist and persevere in our praying and seeking. Let us not allow discouragements stop us from appealing to heaven for mercy and grace. For God delights to bless those who persevere through faith in him and who will not be turned aside by problems and discouragements (cf. Luke 18:1-8).

By: Jeremiah Bass