HOW FAR CAN YOU GO WITH GOD TO MAKE YOUR PRAYER HEARD?: Prayer Reflection on Matthew 5:21-28)


Have you been praying for a particular favour for long time now and feel you're already due to be answered? Is the period of waiting for the materialisation of that prophetic blessing over you becoming soo long, worrisome and burdensome that you feel you have reached your breaking point? Are you already feeling God's promises for the "Just and faithful" were lies? Then thank your God you came across this message. Read slowly and experience upliftment: (Matt.15:21-28)

[A Canaanite woman came to Jesus crying:] ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

POINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. The dialogue between the Canaanite woman and Jesus reveals our dialogue with God in prayer: we ask for many needs and expect reply from God.

2. Jesus' SILENCE, and subsequent remarks: ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ and ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs,’ does not mean "ABSENCE of God" and "rejection" but reveals the PRESENCE OF GOD and TESTS we must undergo to prove our faith worthy of receiving from the Lord.

From the Bible we arrive at the understanding that God's silence does not mean God's "absence or idleness", rather it means God is working and preparing new things, and is communicating something new to us His creatures that we may learn something new and improve our standards of life. Do you doubt this? Now see, in the beginning, it was God's silence that calmed the formless, dark and void earth as His Spirit hovered over the chaotic waters, and brought forth creation (Gen. 1:1). God's silence to Noah when he was in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights was a preparation for a new creation (Gen.8: 1,15,9). God's silence after the prophet Malachi (the last prophet of the Old Testament) for 400 years was a preparation for the renewal of creation that will come with Jesus Christ: to bring about the Gospel of salvation and the agents/means of dispersing this message to the ends of the earth ( Mal.3:1). God's silence to Jesus during his agony at the garden and on the cross was to destroy and transform the "dreadful silence of death" to a joyous and glorious eternity (Matt. 27:46 & 51).
But do we realise this? No! This is when the Evil one tempts us more with the dreadful thought of God's absence! What then should we do when we feel God's silence? Trust His presence for SILENCE evokes God's PRESENCE! Silence invites the presence of God! Silence is the first language of God! Infact only in silence can we discover God as Elijah discovered Him; not in the noisy wind, earthquakes and fire but in the "whisper of a gentle wind" (1 Kgs. 19:11-13).
Hence, God communicates to all his creation in silence. God's message and presence is declared in creation through silence no wonder scripture says in Psalm 19: 1-4: "the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,their words to the ends of the world." 

3. The intervention of discouragement by the disciples reveals the temptations, huddles, setbacks, barriers we face (even from family and friends) as we pursue our set goals in life. It also reveals how the devil could use any one to frustrate God's plans in your life by evil machinations targeted to our progress.

4. The woman's prayer teaches us that Prayer is not just a mere spiritual activity of communing with the divine. But prayer presupposes Knowledge of God- knowledge of the One we are praying to. She called Jesus by his root name: "Son of David"! This root name of Jesus could only be known by a Jew (C.f. Matt. 1:1), but this woman is a gentile-a canaanite. She may have heard about Jesus, but her deep faith commended by Jesus couldn't have been inspired by mere common talks. Her faith was indeed inspired by the knowledge of God! Thus confirming what scripture says: Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom.10:17).
 TASK: Are you already losing it? Are you already breaking faith? Are you already abandoning the way of righteousness because you can no longer wait in hope as you journey with the Lord? Remember the words of Prophet Habakkuk 2:1: "I will stand at my watchtower and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint."
 
Wait today for the Lord on your watchtower of Prayer for he has something to say! You should wait for him, like the holy men of old waited; He definitely has a reply to your complaints! God's reply will surprise you! It does surprise everyone who is patient to wait! If He replies to you, what answer would you give for the complaints you made in ignorance?
 
It surprised Jeremiah when the Lord replied him: I will make you a fortress to this people, a strong wall of bronze; they will fight against you but they will not overcome you, for I am with you (Jer.15:20). It surprised Job when God answered him with these words: Who is this that obscures my plans with ignorant words, Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you and you must answer ( Job 38:1ff.), and it surprised St. Paul when the Lord told him "my grace is enough for you, my power is made manifest in weakness" (2Cor.12:9)

Read this now Jerimiah 12: 1-17 and be encouraged.

I Pray for You: May the Lord shine His face upon you as He reveals His glory to you through the power of his Word. AMEN.

▪︎Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ 

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