HOST: Ron House
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
While yesterday’s reading dealt with the constancy of our prayer lives, today’s deals with the attitude of our prayers. In this parable, Jesus contrasts the prayers and hearts of two men. One of them, a Pharisee (if his description of his life is accurate), had gone above and beyond in devoting his life to righteous living. But while his life was commendable, his attitude was not. He was haughty, arrogant, and self-serving in his prayer. His audience was not God, but those who might hear his prayer and be impressed with his righteousness. The other man, a tax collector, comes before God with a humble and broken spirit, confessing his sinfulness and begging for God’s mercy. What is the lesson in this text for us? We must remember, unlike the Pharisee, that despite our best efforts and all the good that we might accomplish, we are sinners, unworthy of God’s mercy and salvation. As we go to God in prayer, we must go before Him in humility, recognizing our dependence upon Him and His grace and mercy toward us.
Why is our attitude in prayer important?
Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!