Yesterday, Jesus provided a parable about the power of persistent prayer. Today, he preaches about the problem of proud praying:
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus cuts right to the very ♥ of what true prayer is all about in this parable of contrasts:
- Pharisees were at the very top of the religious world. Tax collectors were at the very bottom.
- The Pharisee stood by himself and looked down on others. The tax collector stood at a distance and wouldn’t even look up to heaven.
- The Pharisee thought he was in good with God because he observed religious rituals. The tax collector knew he was a sinner in need of forgiveness.
- The Pharisee sought to justify himself. The tax collector sought justification from God.
In short, the Pharisee exalted himself and the tax collector humbled himself.
The result? The sinful tax collector “went home justified before God.” The proud Pharisee did not.
Be real with God in prayer. Come to him with a humble ♥ and seek his mercy and forgiveness.
Millions around the world have prayed this humble tax collector’s prayer for centuries. Join ’em right now:
Have mercy on me,
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / Igor Stevanovic)