This is a continuation of Watchman Nee's short teaching on prayer. I find these thought provoking in how these men of faith approached prayer. How often we jump into the outcome we seek? May we all learn to wait on the Lord to discern His heart for the pressures of this life. You can also check out the last teaching on how Joshua got his prayer answered.
God Did Not Reply To Her Prayers
The Canaanite woman was in distress, and she cried out in her need: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David” (Matthew 15:22).
Was she not earnest in prayer? Truly she was. But the amazing thing is that the Lord “answered her not a word” (Matthew 15:23).
And the disciples seemed to be in sympathy with the Lord, for they said to Him, “Send her away, for she crieth after us.”
Jesus Gave Her a Clue to Help Her Prayers
But how did the Lord reply to them? He said, “I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
That reply of the Lord’s enabled the woman to discover the right approach to Him. She saw that the Son of David was only related to the house of Israel, not to the nations. So, she came and worshipped Him saying, “Lord, help me” (Matthew 15:25)!
She now called Him, “Lord,” not “Son of David.” She realized that only the house of Israel had a right to use that title, so she forsook the wrong ground on which she had been standing and addressed her prayer to Him as Lord.
Don’t Get Offended When You Get a Dialogue Before Your Answer
This prayer brought His answer – “it is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs” (Matthew 15:26).
The answer seemed so cold, it sounded as though the Lord was rejecting the woman.
Actually, He was seeking to show he where she stood so that she might know the meaning of grace. The woman saw her own place and saw also the grace of the Lord.
And, having now the key to prayer, she said: “Yes it is, Lord. Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” (Matthew 15:27).
Jesus Commends Her Faith
This called forth the Lord’s commendation, and He said to her, “O woman, you have great faith” (Matthew 15:28). It was because she had found the key that she quite naturally exercised faith.
Her brief prayer was answered because she possessed the key and prayed to the point. This is what we need to learn. Often we put forth tremendous effort in prayer without getting any answer from God, yet we do not seek to discover why.
Brothers and sisters, how can we expect God to answer prayers that are wide of the mark? In all our praying, we must find the key, for only as we do so can we expect to have constant answers from God.
Guidance in Our Prayers
Having looked at these illustrations relating to prayer, let us bear in mind that we should heed the inner voice and not be governed by our circumstances, or thoughts, or affections. When that still small voice within tells us to pray, when in the deeps of our being we have a sense that we should pray, then let us respond at once.
Circumstances should only be a means of driving us into the presence of God to wait on Him; they should not control our prayers. And thoughts should only crystalize our inner registrations; they should not be a source of prayer.
Prayer according to the will of God is only possible when we ourselves are in harmony with His will.
Find the Key to God’s Willingness
Unless our affections have been dealt with, we shall not readily follow the inner leading in prayer, because we shall be influenced by our desires and shall be seeking to bring God into line with what we want.
Whenever we find ourselves praying ineffectively, we must seek to discover the cause. As we inquire of the Lord, we shall reach a point where the still small voice within us says, “that’s it!” Then we shall be released, for we shall be in possession of the key.
And as we use the key and pray on, we can be assured of God’s answer.