Hymns: 330 Come, Let Us to the Lord Our God 448 Nothing Between
Bible Reading Mark 7:24-30

The scene changes from Galilee to Tyre and Sidon, towns on the north coast of Israel. Even there, the Lord's fame preceded Him and bodily rest was nigh impossible. Note the words in v24 "He could not be hid." As Jew and Gentile learned of His miracles and of his ministry multitudes sought him. He was even found of this Syrophenician woman in distress about her demon-possessed daughter.

Here we have a wonderful incident illustrating the power of a mother's prayers. We are thankful for the example and encouragement this gives to all mothers to pray for their children. It is also a model for us to pray as a church for those who are held captive by the devil.
This incident reminds us of the need to put on the Christian armour as taught in Ephesians 6, and for tireless prayer against the forces of darkness while we live in this world. More of the oppositions and troubles of Christians can be traced to the power of Satan at work against us than we may ever know. This account is a wake-up call to labour in prayer against the kingdom of darkness.

[1] The need for prayer.
Her young daughter was possessed by a demon - see v25, "an unclean spirit" 26,30 "a devil." Satan's torment of this little girl robbed her of physical strength, as "she laid upon the bed" (v30).

* Children are targets of Satan. They are a fruitful field for temptation and harassment.
* Children are in bondage to Satan and "led captive at his will."
* Our children's spiritual needs are beyond the help that parents may give them. We can clothe, feed, teach and lead, but the Lord must control their hearts and save their souls.

It is marvellous that we have a Saviour who cares and to whom we can go with the deep-seated needs of our children. He is not hidden from us. He has given us promises and has called us to cast our cares upon Him.

[2] The faith we need in prayer.
We need faith in Christ as the answer to spiritial problems.
"She heard of him" (v25). What did she hear? Of his reputation and power, and of His proximity to her.
We need faith that Christ is to be worshipped. "She fell at His feet" This was an act of worship. It demonstrated her faith in the majesty of the Lord.
Worshipful prayer has power with the Lord. Where He is honoured, He will honour in return. Being jealous of His own name, our worship is powerful in His courts.

[3] The arguments we need in prayer.
That Christ is to be pleaded with. She "besought Him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter."

* The devil is an argument for prayer.
* Desperation is an argument for prayer.
* Humility is an argument for prayer. See the discussion about the dogs eating crumbs which the children drop from the table. Because she was a Gentile and not of the house of Israel she knew her unworthiness, yet she also knew the extent of the Lord's mercy. We must never allow pride to hinder our prayer requests. Let us take the lowly position and turn our unworthiness as an argument. Let the Lord's mercy to the lowly be our strong plea in prayer.

[4] The reward of prayer.
"For this saying" (v29). She won her case by lowly praying.
"The devil is gone out of her" (v29). Total victory resulted. The Lord is come to destroy the works of the devil. Even before His victory on the cross where he spoiled principality and powers, He was almighty over the works of Satan. Deliverance from the bondage of darkness and sin were the rewards of a mother's prayers.

This is the hope of all who long for Satan's powers to be crushed. Satan's forces are still to be wrestled against. We are instructed in Ephesians 6 to put on the whole armour of God. We are to use this final and all important armour of all prayer.
More victories are won for children and families by the power of prayer than we may know. Remember that we are dealing with an unseen world. Satan is real and temptations surround us, but prayer calls in the power of the Lord even unnoticed.
Answers to prayer will come in due time. Even when we are no longer in control, or when we have gone to heaven, the prayers of mothers, and fathers too, will be answered.
Remember the prayers of Hannah for Samuel that resulted in God's call upon his life. Remember the faithful instruction of Eunice and Lois that must have been accompanied with earnest prayers for Timothy.
Remember the prayers of Elizabeth for John the Baptist and the prayers of Mary, who was honoured by the life and ministry of Christ.
Mothers have a rich heritage of power in prayer. Many sons will be made useful to God through the victories won by mothers on their knees praying for their children. Praying mothers are greatly needed today to see a generation saved to serve the Lord.

Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify Him accordingly.
In his work on the Shorter Catechism includes this story along with the Q & A for # 46.
On the evening of the day on which his father died, the Rev. Dr Balmer (later, Professor of Theology to the United Secession Church), then about ten years of age, brought the books for family worship, as he had been used to do when his father was alive, and quietly placed them before his mother. This occasioned an irrepressible burst of sorrow. Robert, on seeing his mother so overcome, reminded her that God, who had taken away his father, would be a father to them, and had promised to hear their prayers: 'And,' said he, 'we must not go to bed tonight without worshipping Him.' His mother then took the books, and conducted the worship of the family, and from that time continued to do so, till Robert, a few years afterwards, took her place in this exercise.