Have You Looked at Them?
Verse 11 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.
As we dig deeper into what kind of a prayer life that Jesus wants us to have with Him, we look at an example He gave in the form of a parable during His ministry here on earth.
As Jesus starts the parable He gives us two characters. We will look at the second one tomorrow but first we need to see that both of the men looked to have the same goal – going to the Temple to pray. One goal but two very different motives.
The Pharisees were not known for being humble people. They were known for making themselves be seen. This one went to the Temple to pray. He wasn’t going for a one on one appointment with the Lord, he knew that it would be seen that he was praying. And as we examine his prayer we see an even greater problem – pride.
We know pride is something that God hates and yet that is one of the things that still trips us up. We may not say out loud how we think we are better than others but those thoughts cross our minds more than we would like to admit. We puff ourselves up in our own minds thinking about all the things that make us better than others.
This form of speaking to God isn’t really about Him. If we think we need to brag about ourselves to God we are missing one major thing that the Lord is wanting to make about prayer. This isn’t to say that we can’t pray for ourselves and things that we are going through. He wants us to pour our heart out to Him. He wants to know what we are feeling but He wants sincerity in our relationship with Him.
We can’t be sincere with God if we aren’t being sincere with ourselves. When we list all those things about other people, we leave our own sins in the blind spots of our lives. We tend to focus so easily on others’ sins and ignore our own. When we come to the Lord with those perspectives we are missing who God sees when He looks at us. We should be going to Him with our focus on His holiness, not our own self-righteousness.
Making It Personal
How often do you list another person’s sins? How often do you think about your own sins? What should be our reason for wanting to pray?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to think about another person’s sins? Is focusing on another’s sins kind of like tattling? Do you know that you sin?
Father, thank You for wanting to hear us. Help us want to talk to You in the way You want us to. In Jesus’ name, amen.