Summary: The power of prayer moves the hand of God.
A Messiah Who Hears Our Prayers
Text: Matt. 15:21-28
1. Illustration: When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Muller's reply was, "Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming."
2. All too often I have heard people say to me, "Well all I can do is pray." What a misguided statement. Prayer isn't the least we can do, it is the most we can do!
3. When we pray there are certain things we need to keep in mind.
a. Be Bold
b. Be Relentless
c. Be Worshipful
d. Be Resourceful
e. Be Believing
4. Read Matt. 15:21-28
Proposition: The power of prayer moves the hand of God.
Transition: In prayer we need to remember to...
I. Be Bold (21-22).
A. Have Mercy On Me
1. After Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders he moves on from Galilee.
2. Matthew tells us that "Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon."
a. Jesus went to Tyre and Sidon which were two principle ports in Phonecia, the coastal plain region west and north of Galilee.
b. During the time of David and Solomon they were the two of the most important cities in the known world (Horton, 325).
c. The district of Tyre and Sidon was the Gentile territory of ancient Phoenicia, an area now in southern Lebanon, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
d. It is possible that He and the disciples spent most of their time in the foothills of the mountains, which would have been a refreshing change in climate from the hot and arid region of Galilee (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).
e. What is important to note here is that this is a Gentile territory, and the Jews and Gentiles did not think very highly of one another.
3. While he was there, "A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
a. She had been raised in a pagan culture that had been renowned for its wickedness and sin.
b. She was a descendant of a people God had commanded Israel to conquer and "utterly destroy" (Deut. 7:2).
c. She had no heritage of God's Word, God's blessing, or of His Tabernacle, Temple, priesthood, or sacrifices.
d. Therefore, because she believed so much relative to so little revelation, Jesus called her faith great.
e. A temple dedicated to Eshmun, a god of healing, was located three miles northwest of Sidon.
f. This woman was likely familiar with the pagan deity, but she was familar with Jesus’ reputation, and she comes instead to Jesus for healing for her daughter (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 539).
g. The fact that she came to Jesus, a Jewish teacher and healer, indicates she was disillusioned with the idolatry that characterized her religion.
h. In turning to Jesus, she turned from the way of Satan and sin to the way of God, and that is the essence of repentance.
i. She knew she did not deserve Jesus' help, that she was unworthy of Him, and that her only hope for undeserved forgiveness was in His gracious mercy.
j. By definition, the person who asks for mercy asks for something undeserved.
k. This woman did not come demanding but pleading. She did not ask Jesus' help on the basis of her own goodness but on the basis of His (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).
B. Come Boldly Before the Throne
1. Illustration: "It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer (George Muller).
2. God expects to us come boldly to him in prayer.
a. Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
b. God does not ask us to be weak and timid when we pray.
c. God ask us to come to him humbly, but in the power of the Spirit.
3. The problem with most of our prayers is that we expect too little.
a. 2 Kings 13:18-19 (NLT)
18 Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times.
19 But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.”