Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 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.” But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me! Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
Matthew 15:21 – 28
A spiritual gap is the distance between the way things are and the way they should be according to the Word of God. This is what an intercessor works toward in their war room: they stand in the gap with prayer and use their faith to make up the difference between what is and what should be for someone else.
It doesn’t happen much any more, but there are those who will invest their time, energy and faith to see a miracle happen for another person. I am drawn to the story of the woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon.
There are a few things I noticed about this account. First, this was not the mother’s fight or for her direct benefit – but for her daughter who could not fight for herself. For this mother, her daughter was a spiritual prisoner of war by the enemy, and she was doing her part to organize the child’s rescue and liberation by seeking Jesus to set her free.
In this case, the daughter did not even realize that she needed help. How many times have we encountered people who are clearly bound by conditions or mindsets and they have no idea how bad off they are? This is what was happening here.
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.”
Yet, this mother had enough compassion for her child to do whatever was required to get the help that she needed. This type of pursuit might not seem so farfetched for a parent-child relationship, but what about the believer – spiritual POW relationship? Is there a believer willing to run into the heat of a battle for the random person, or maybe the not so random person who is in need of spiritual liberation?
This mother teaches us some things about how to intercede a miracle for another person.
One: she was a woman of faith. She would not have pursued Jesus if she did not have faith that He could meet her need. Question for you: are you a person of real faith or are you merely role-playing the part of a believer to stay in a place of comfort? If you are a person of real faith, then it will push you to attempt things that are outside of your sphere of ease. But, if your faith is latent, you will never respond to the urgent signals pushing you into action when opportunity meets expectation.
But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
Two: There may be naysayers, doubt-talkers, and irrelevant people in the vicinity of your breakthrough, but active faith can filter them out and keep your focus on the one you are seeking and what you are expecting to obtain. Notice that the disciples were part of the woman’s blockade. She had to filter them out as well. When there are people in your path who don’t understand your plight or your fight, they can minimize your effort and potentially cause you to derail your pursuit. Intercession can be this way at times. People incorrectly assess your passion for someone else and reduce your travailing to nothing more than “being emotional”. But, if you are going to intercede for a miracle, you have to shift beyond their lack of realization and keep pressing in toward Jesus.
Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
Three: Even if it isn’t the right time, right place, right whatever – ask anyway. The woman was not an Israeli and therefore – at the time – she was not afforded the spiritual benefits that Jesus was providing. Her time to receive, and that of anyone not Israeli, was not until after He arose. Yet, this mother was willing to move out of her place of familiarity, blow past the societal norms of the time, cross cultural and dispensational ordinances to get to Jesus with the single goal of seeing her daughter delivered. Her opportunity and expectation collided as she acted in faith to ask for her child’s liberation.
But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
Four: Non-response doesn’t always mean no. Sometimes it means press in further. When your faith is working overtime in high gear and your expectation is not being met based upon what you believe according to the Word of God, then your response should not be to give up and walk away. This is the time to position yourself closer to God. When the woman came to Jesus, she worshipped him. She advanced passed the external begging stage of her plea, passed the inhibiters in her way and shifted into Jesus’ personal space. When your need is critical and your faith is active, the mix will push you into Jesus’ personal space. And when you come before the throne, don’t mealy mouth your request: ask boldly.
Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
Five: Be prepared to defend your case. Interestingly, Jesus pushed back again when the woman asked Him for help a second time. But the woman was relentless. Notice, she did not revert back to begging and pleading. This is often our error in intercession; we do all of the hard work to press in, yet when we get to the “ask”, we fumble it somehow by assuming that our emotional antics will take us over the edge for favor.
Most of the time, the emotions are real and appropriately released. However, if our position shifts from that place of faith we fought to enter into, to a place of emotional anticipation and effort then we will walk away empty every time. The two states are not interchangeable. I’ll go ahead and state the obvious: God cannot be manipulated. And, to her credit, the woman did not attempt this tactic. Instead, she had a coherent and lucid reply for Jesus’ response.
For this woman to be able to have an intelligent response to Jesus’ pullback implied that she was actually listening to the discourse Jesus was having not only with her, but also with Himself. How well do we listen when we are drawn into His presence? Have we learned how to harness our emotions so that we can comprehend the conversation we are having with our Lord?
Prayer is a conversation, not a monologue. Supplication is not just an opportunity to “dump” on Jesus (although He will relieve us of the load we carry). Rather, prayer is an opportunity to meet and obtain the counsel of the Kingdom of God. And intercession is an occasion to make a coherent, lucid case about a circumstance, need or situation on behalf of someone else.
Would you walk into a business meeting and burst into tears or start yelling incoherently and seriously expect to obtain resolution to your original objective? I think not. So, why do we approach Jesus with this mindset and then live bewildered about why things are not changing in our lives? Selah moment.
“Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
I found it interesting that this woman, who had not been schooled in the “way” to pray or even given the spiritual right to approach Jesus with a request, understood better than most how to intercede for a miracle on someone else’s behalf.
Five: There is one final point I want to highlight here. When the woman made this case, her faith moved the hand of God out of a dispensation of time to answer a request that she was not even “rightfully” sanctioned to ask. If this woman, who was not a Christian at the time, was able to negotiate a miracle with her faith, then how much more should we as children of God be able to intercede and call forth what is needed for someone else?
Bottom Line: Is your faith active? Is your worship effective? Have you made a qualified case for your need according to the Word of God? Are you willing to exercise aggressive faith on behalf of someone else? Now is the time to re-evaluate your approach if you want to obtain the result that you are expecting.
Are you prepared for Operation: “Miracle”?
©2012 LR Rodgers All Rights Reserved.