Warm-up: What is the one word that you would use to describe Jesus?
Read Matthew 15:21-28
The person that we are going to focus on in this story is the Gentile woman. While it is incredible that Jesus healed her demon-possessed daughter, I think he may be trying to teach us something even more profound. The woman had many obstacles in her way: she was an outsider (Gentile), a woman, the mother to a demon possessed little girl, and Jesus is seemingly ignoring her. Ouch. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you had your heart set on something, but that dream quickly came to a halt because a variety of obstacles or challenges got in your way.
Why do you think Jesus ignored the woman?
When he finally does say something to the woman it seems pretty harsh. What do you think the deeper meaning was behind Jesus’ response to her?
What are your thoughts on the way the woman responded despite the MANY obstacles in her way?
God was teaching not only the woman and the disciples the power of persistence, but he is also teaching us why it is so important to pursue him persistently in prayer.
We all want things in life. And Jesus says to bring those requests to the Father (Luke 11:9-13). But, on Sunday, we heard that prayer is not about getting everything we want, it is about wanting Jesus above all else. (Read that again… Let it sink in)
On Sunday we learned 4 major things about the power of persistence in prayer
It recognizes our need for God
It clarifies what we really want and what we really need
It gives us more passion for God
It grows our faith and builds our character
Let’s actually spend some time tonight practicing this. First, take some time now to sit quietly and alone with God. Spend the first 5 minutes in silent prayer. Spread yourselves out and find a comfortable place (life group leaders can facilitate this).
Ask God to: Help clarify your motives / Purify your heart / Forgive you of any unconfessed sin / Release you of any unforgiveness towards others / Forgive you for any doubt or disbelief in Him
After talking and listening to God, write down THREE of the biggest things in your life that you may have given up on too soon. It could be a relationship you desire, an unbelieving family member or loved one, a physical/medical need, a career path, etc. After you have written them down take time to pray separately about each one (Spend about 15 minutes here). We can follow the woman’s prayer model:
- She doesn’t demand anything from Jesus
- Even when Jesus is silent she comes before his feet and worships him
- She doesn’t try to pray an elegant, wordy prayer, she simply prays, “God I need you!”
- She equates herself to a household pet and will take anything Jesus will give her because she believes he is THAT good
Once the 15 minutes is up, take some time to share about your time with the Lord. Was this exercise refreshing, difficult, exciting, unexpected?
Living it out: Don’t let your persistence in prayer stop tonight. Remember…How much we want God will be shown in how hard we pursue him. Take 15 minutes each day and pray persistently for the same three things you prayed for tonight.