Mark: That Stubborn Mom... What a Blessing!
What can a frantic mom described in Mark teach us about prayer? Much because Jesus commended her faith and she saw her daughter delivered!! Are we good intercessors? Do we know what it truly means to be persistent in prayer?
In the first place, this passage is meant to encourage us to pray for others. The woman who came to our Lord, in the history now before us, must doubtless have been in deep affliction. She saw a beloved child possessed by an unclean spirit. She saw her in a condition in which no teaching could reach the mind, and no medicine could heal the body - a condition only one degree better than death itself. She hears of Jesus, and beseeches Him to "cast the demon out of her daughter." She prays for one who could not pray for herself, and never rests until her prayer is granted. By prayer she obtains the cure which no human means could obtain. Through the prayer of the mother, the daughter is healed. On her own behalf that daughter did not speak a word; but her mother spoke for her to the Lord, and did not speak in vain. Hopeless and desperate as her case appeared, she had a praying mother, and where there is a praying mother there is always hope.
The truth here taught is one of deep importance. The case here recorded is one that does not stand alone. Few duties are so strongly recommended by Scriptural example, as the duty of intercessory prayer. There is a long catalogue of instances in Scripture, which show the benefits that may be conferred on others by praying for them. The nobleman's son at Capernaum - the centurion's servant - the daughter of Jairus, are all striking examples. Incredible as it may seem, God is pleased to do great things for souls, when friends and relations are moved to pray for them. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16)
Fathers and mothers are especially bound to remember the case of this woman. They cannot give their children new hearts. They can give them Christian education, and show them the way of life; but they cannot give them a will to choose Christ's service, and a heart to love God. Yet there is one thing they can always do - they can pray for them. They can pray for the conversion of profligate sons, who will have their own way, and run greedily into sin. They can pray for the conversion of worldly daughters, who set their affections on things below, and love pleasure more than God. Such prayers are heard on high. Such prayers will often bring down blessings. Never, never let us forget that the children for whom many prayers have been offered, seldom finally perish. Let us pray more for our sons and daughters. Even when they will not let us speak to them about religion, they cannot prevent us speaking for them to God. J.C. Ryle Expository Thoughts on the Gospels
Sermon discussion questions for parents to use with their children:
Why was this woman so distraught?
Why did Jesus treat her with what seems to be a lack of concern and compassion?
Why did He reach out to Jews first?
What does she teach us about prayer?
About persistent prayer?
About believing prayer?
Why does God like us to be persistent?