The Power of Persuasion

Do you think Mary prayed before breaking her shocking news to Joseph?

Yeah, I do, too.

I think she prayed like crazy. I mean, can you imagine how angry Joseph would have been? He must have felt betrayed, deceived, and incredibly hurt. And he had the power to have Mary stoned. At the very least, he could abandon her. No matter how you look at it, announcing the news to Joseph would have been a terrifying prospect.

We don’t have the details of how it went. We only know that after Joseph discovered that his fiancé was expecting someone else’s baby, he “resolved to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19, ESV). As far as he was concerned, Mary would have to face this situation without him.

Did Mary protest? Did she try to explain what had happened? Did she justify herself and try to persuade Joseph to change his mind? We don’t know. Scripture doesn’t say. But I imagine that she prayed her heart out.

When Mary had agreed to “let it be to [her] according to [God’s] word,” (Luke 1:38), she’d essentially thrown herself on the altar. Anything might happen to her—the cost for obedience would be high—but Mary chose to be God’s servant. She had to believe that He would take care of her. So, when things looked really bad, I think Mary prayed. She probably realized that although she didn’t have the power to persuade him, God did.

Thankfully, Joseph didn’t follow through with his decision immediately. He decided to sleep on it. And while he did, God worked. Perhaps it was in answer to Mary’s prayers. At any rate, you know the story: An angel came to him in a dream, explained it all to him, and gave him the courage to take Mary as his wife. God persuaded Joseph, and Mary’s prayers were answered.

Obviously, I’m connecting a lot of dots in my imaginative retelling of the story. I can’t promise you that Mary prayed. And I don’t know whether she tried to persuade Joseph or not. But what I do know is this: my persuasive powers are nothing compared to the power of God. I may try to persuade others about what seems right and just to me—but I can’t change their hearts. God can, however. And when I pray, sometimes He actually does.

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