The Parable about Two Prayers
Begin with prayer, opening your heart to God’s Word and Spirit.
Read Luke 18:9-14
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “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.’
14 “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 is once more turning the traditional understanding of the God’s kingdom on its head. This parable was personal and pointed to those who were not only overly confident, but also critical of others. Jesus again used those one who was despised, a tax collector, to show his listeners another way. The Pharisee fasted and tithed; he was not like other men. His understanding of who he was had been based on how others saw them. The tax collector had a much better understanding of who was in the sight of God.
Father God, help us to be like the tax collector who knew he needed your mercy. Help us to pray to you with humility and gratitude for all you have done. Amen.