Jeremiah 31:1-7; Jeremiah 31:10-12,13; Matthew 15:21-28
The Cananite woman teaches us a lot about prayer - be persistent! Jesus initially ignores her - he is in fact quite rude to her. This emphasises that Jesus primary mission was to those of faith - the woman from Cana not being an Israelite was not his business. But she continues to beg for her daughter's sake, and Jesus' disciples get fed up with her and join in the pleading for healing. There is a degree of 'banter' between Jesus and the woman, but he does give her daughter health again. The reference to dogs is something of a pun, as the Greek for those from another state was Barbaros - dogs - deriving from the unintelligible noise they make due to the language difference. The woman's quick witted response is clearly appreciated by Jesus, an insight into his human personality. (He also spars verbally with the woman at the well). It shows a willingness to actually listen to a woman which would have been striking in his time and place.
If we read the words of doctors and saints of the church it is often evident that this struggling to be heard by God is common. Mother Teresa for example wrote that she prayed for 40 years without feeling that God was listening to her - but that he did in the end. There will often be times in our lives when our prayers seem to go unanswered. One of the less is to go on praying and to keep on listening for the answer. It will come, we may not find in the expected way, but it will come.
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" (Julian of Norwich).