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  • Faith is always a gift of God to man, which is obtained by obedience, as all other blessings are. (Joseph F. Smith Gospel Doctrine, p. 212) ... Faith does not come without works; faith does not come without obedience to the commandments of God. (Conference Report, October 1903, p. 4)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

PRAY ON

In my New Testament class, each week we post principles found in our reading. Benjamin Davis posted the following.

FAITH and PRAYER

True faith may sometimes be found, 
where it might have been least expected.

[A story in Matthew 15:21-28 illustrates great faith.

  21 ¶Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

  22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.


  23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.


  24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


  25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.


  26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.


  27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.


  28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.]

What encouragement there is [in this story] to persevere in prayer, both for ourselves and others!

It is hard to conceive a more striking illustration of this truth, than we have in this passage. The prayer of this afflicted mother at first seemed entirely unnoticed--Jesus "answered her not a word" (verse 23). Yet she prayed on. 

The answer which by and bye fell from our Lord's lips sounded discouraging--"I wasn't sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (verse 24). 

Yet she prayed on, "Lord, help me" (verse 25). 

The second answer of our Lord was even less encouraging than the first--"It is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs" (verse 26). 

Even then she was not silenced. Even then she finds a plea for some "crumbs" (verse 27) of mercy to be granted to her. And her importunity obtained at length a gracious reward. "Woman, great is your faith! Be it done to you even as you desire" 
(verse 28). 

"Seek and you shall find" (Matt. 7:7). 
That promise never yet was broken, 

Let us remember this story, when we pray for ourselves. We are sometimes tempted to think that we get no good by our prayers, and that we may as well give them up altogether. Let us resist the temptation. It comes from the devil. Let us believe, and pray on. 

Let us believe, and pray on. Against our besetting sins, against the spirit of the world, against the wiles of the devil, let us pray on, and not faint. 

Let us believe, and pray on. For strength to do duty, for grace to bear our trials, for comfort in every trouble, let us continue in prayer. Let us be sure that no time is so well-spent in every day, as that which we spend upon our knees. Jesus hears us, and in his own good time will give an answer.

Let us remember this story, when we intercede for others. Those who have children, [or] whose conversion we desire? Those who have relatives and friends, about whose salvation we are anxious? Let us follow the example of this Canaanitish woman, and lay the state of their souls before Christ. 

Let us name their names before Him night and day, and never rest until we have an answer. We might have to wait a long time. We may seem to pray in vain, and intercede without profit. But let us never give up. 

Let us believe that Jesus is not changed, and that He who heard the Canaanitish mother, and granted her request, will also hear us, and one day give us an answer of peace.

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