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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Today’s Reading | Matthew 15:21–28

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (NRSV)


I am in awe of this woman. She bravely approaches Jesus, not only from the humblest place but with an enormous request—not for herself, but for her suffering daughter. She’s turned away by Jesus’ own disciples, and Jesus himself reminds her of her low “rank” both as a woman and as a Canaanite. Yet she won’t back down and continues to ask for his help. She won’t be discouraged!

So many times, when I begin a prayer I hear that familiar, negative voice in my head, telling me “How can you ask for help? You didn’t do enough on your own. This is too big, or too small to bother God with,” etc., etc. And then I hear the words that trouble me the most when I’m struggling with prayer. They are my own doubtful words telling me I don’t believe my prayers are heard or that they will be answered—that prayer is like throwing pennies in a wishing well, especially for someone like me.

Yet it’s hard to miss the resounding message in Matthew 15:21–28. “Ask! And expect an answer!” That is exactly what the Canaanite woman did, and Jesus praised her faith and healed her daughter. The next time I pray and those doubtful words creep in, I will remember this story and take courage that I am a cherished child of God, as we all are, and that my prayers are heard.


God, grant me the courage to back my prayers with faith and keep my eyes open to the countless ways that you prove to me every day that you are always listening. Amen.

Written by Patty Donmoyer, Receptionist


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