How To Approach Jesus In Prayer


I have always loved the account of the Canaanite Woman. In my humble opinion, it is one of the best examples of intercessory prayer. This woman comes to Jesus in her desperation, knowing full well as a Canaanite, a non-Jew, He may not even give her the time of day. And at first that is exactly what happens.
As the story continues, we see her persistence; she was not having any of Jesus' silence, nor was she put off by his seemingly rude remarks (if I can be so bold as to say Jesus was rude.). She continued to plead with Him in all humility for help from Him for her daughter.
Jesus recognizes her humility and her faith that Jesus is who He says He is for she calls Him "Lord, Son of David."
Sometimes in our prayer, whether it be for ourselves or others, we can become easily dejected and frustrated if we do not hear from God immediately or in the way we expect. However, sometimes I believe God wants to test our faith a bit; it is as if He were saying to us "How important is this to you, how badly do you want or need this, and do you trust me to answer according to my will for you in the way that is best for your salvation and that of those for whom you pray?" That is the faith of the Canaanite Woman; She is a beautiful example of how to approach Jesus in prayer~with humility and persistence, and always recognizing Him as Lord.

Comments

Deanna said…
it is precious that we can boldly enter into the throne room of God when Jesus is our savior. We have permission to commune with our heavenly Father.

Awesome.
d
Well I'm certainly persistent in prayer ... and I try humility too.

Karinann, this is a great thought-provoking post.

God bless.
mary333 said…
Karin,
I love the boldness and perseverance of the Canaanite woman. Sounds a little odd but she reminds me a bit of Abraham when he was interceding for Sodom - that beautiful combination of humility, faith, and perseverance which is so prized by our Lord. Same with the centurion - again that perfect combination of humility and faith. Thanks for this insightful post on how to approach Jesus in prayer.
Michael said…
When I was younger, I never liked this passage much. Jesus always came across as ... well ... as you put it, rude.

But now that I'm older and wiser ... (or at least older) .. I realize what a great reminder it is that we do not always get what we want the first time we ask. And that sometimes our struggles are tests of our Faith.

God Bless you!
Colleen said…
Great post. I love the Canaanite woman because she doesn't give up. I agree that Jesus seemed a bit harsh but sometimes I think he was actually amused by her persistence and boldness and wanted to see how she would respond. :)
God bless!
Karinann said…
Thank you all for your thoughts on this Gospel passage.

Deanna- Glad you paid a visit. I agree, Jesus as Savior opens the door to the Father and so much else.

Victor-Keep up the persistence. God answers all in His time and His way.

Mary- I can see the similarity between this woman and Abraham interceding for Sodom., both were bold and persistent in their prayers. Scripture gives so many examples of bold, persistent people of faith and prayer.

Michael-it took me some time to get past seeing Jesus as harsh in this passage, but I also saw the reason for it. A bit of tough love so to speak.

Colleen, Yes, I think I can see a little smile of amusement on Jesus' face as well in dealing with this woman.

Blessings to all of you.
Your post is very interesting.
This story has always intrigued me, also...but in a rather different way and I would LOVE to know your thoughts about it. When I read this (and also the story of the woman who was pestering ("persisting") the judge) I am always a bit taken aback.
It seems that the "persistence" is rewarded and I "get that" part. What throws me is this: If I were up close and in person to Jesus Christ and believed that He was the God...and I asked Him for something...and He replied in the "negative" as it seems, at first that He does in this story...I would bow low and say "I'm so sorry to have troubled you my Lord" and then run off and hid somewhere to cry. So too, if the judge would have told me "no"...I would have gone away and not come back. In this regard, we teach our children to accept the answer as "no" when we give it...and you know all the cliches that go with that "Because I said so" or "I do not owe you an explanation", etc.
How is it then, that these women "persisted" and did not feel as though they were being disrespectful, whining, or pestering in their pleas? Sorry to take up so much room here in the comments...but this has perplexed me for some time and I thought that your post provided a good opportunity for me to "tap your brain" about it. In other words, how do we know when God's answer is "no" as opposed to when we are supposed to "persist" and ask again...and again...and again? To me, that seems as though His first answer "wasn't good enough". ???
Karinann said…
Judy,
You raise some very good questions/points in your comments. Now of course I have no definitive answers for you, but my feelings and thoughts are these: First, I probably would have done as you would and thanked Our Lord for His time and walked away, but I think this is exactly what Jesus wants to see if we will do at times. Not to be mean, but to test how badly we think we need something and to test our persistence in prayer. I guess you could liken it (in an oversimplistic way) to one of your children asking you for something, you tell them no and they leave it alone, or they keep asking, your older children may even have some good arguements as to why you should grant their wish- just as this woman did for Jesus.
Now this woman had the advantage of having Jesus right in front of her; she could see His expression, hear the tone of His voice. There must have been something that made her believe she should keep begging for the Master's help. She knew that He could heal her daughter. Back to your kids- would you stop at one doctor who said "Sorry can't help you." if one of you precious children were sick? I know you wouldn't. (Sorry to make it personal) We do not have Jesus in His earthly human form in front of us, so it's back to the silence and listening to Him there. Praise Him that He has given us Himself in the Eucharist; we can sit before Him and plead our case and beg for His help, and like the Canaanite Woman, if we truly listen for Him, we will know whether we should persist in our prayer, or go away in humble acceptance of God's silence or His "No". I still feel it is better to err on the side of persistence if we are not sure. I hope my speculation helped. This side of heaven we can't really know Jesus' reasons for why He did what He did or why He does what He does (or doesn't do.
This post seems to have given you some food for meditation; perhaps you should stay with it for awhile and pray with it, maybe journal with it as well.(My spiritual journal entries are always in the form of letters to Jesus-it makes it more conversational to me.)
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Judy and for starting some good dialogue on it.
God bless.