This story is featured in two collections of Bible stories for kids called Do Not Be Afraid: Bible Stories for Kids about Hope and Pray without Ceasing: Bible Stories for Kids about Prayer.
Matthew 15:21–28; Mark 7:24–30
Jesus was one of the people of Israel. They were called the Jews, and they were God’s people. The Gentiles were people who were not Jewish. The Jews expected a Messiah to help and save them and to restore their kingdom. They did not think this applied to the Gentiles. But God had a different plan.
As you read this story, pay attention to the reason Jesus finally answers the Canaanite woman and heals her daughter.
Jesus and his disciples traveled to a place where mostly Gentiles lived. A Canaanite woman from the area saw them and shouted to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
At first Jesus did not answer her, but she kept shouting after him, hoping he would agree to heal her daughter.
Jesus’s disciples said to him, “Send her away. She keeps shouting at us.”
Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Still, the woman persisted. She ran up to Jesus and knelt down before him. “Lord, help me,” she said.
“Is it fair to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs?” he said. By this he meant that he was sent first to the people of Israel, while she was one of the Gentiles, who were not Jewish.
“But Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table,” she replied humbly.
Jesus answered, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”
Her daughter was healed at that moment.
- Why did Jesus heal the woman’s daughter?
- Who do you know and love that needs this same persistence and confidence that Jesus can help or heal them?
- How can we be as persistent in prayer as the woman was in this story?
- What gives you confidence that Jesus can help those you pray for?
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