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Praying Thus to Himself

January 8, 2019

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Praying Thus to Himself

Prayer is normally  a means  of worshiping  and earnestly entreating  the Lord  for our needs — needs that we realize  we cannot fulfill  because of our weaknesses.     But,  Jesus shows us  that some people  are so proud,  they will not humble themselves  to ask God  for anything,  so they pray  to themselves,  instead of  to God.     Jesus’ parable is found  in Luke 18:9-14,

And He also told this parable  to certain ones  who trusted  in themselves  that they were righteous,  and viewed others  with contempt:

“Two men went up  into the temple  to pray,  one a Pharisee,  and the other a tax-gatherer.     The Pharisee  stood and was praying thus  to himself,  ‘God,  I thank Thee  that I am not like  other people:  swindlers,  unjust,  adulterers,  or even like this tax-gatherer.     I fast  twice a week;  I pay tithes  of all that I get.’

“But the tax-gatherer,  standing some distance away,  was even unwilling to lift up his eyes  to heaven,  but was  beating his breast,  saying,  ‘God,  be merciful to me,  the sinner!’

“I tell you,  this man  went down  to his house justified  rather than the other;  for everyone who exalts himself  shall be humbled,  but he who humbles himself  shall be exalted.”

A  “prayer”  is not a prayer  unless it is honestly addressed  to our Lord  and Redeemer.     The self-righteous Pharisee  was doing nothing more  than dialoguing  with himself,  patting himself  on the back  for all the things  he felt  made him better  than other people.

This Pharisee was not honestly grateful  for the supposedly righteous life  he was able to lead.     Quite to the contrary,  he was only arrogantly assuming  that he was better  than other people.     In his spiritual blindness  and grossly sinful pride,  he was elevating himself  as being better than others,  when he was not.     In his desire  to set himself  above others,  he chose  to overlook  every good thing  that God does through others.     Paul speaks  to such people  in Romans 12:3,  where he says,

I say to every man among you  not to think more highly  of himself  than he ought to think;  but to think  so as  to have sound judgment…

Because we all have the sinful tendency  to be proud,  we are all  in need  of sound judgment  as we consider our own lives.     Paul has some words  of guidance  for all of us  regarding our self-concepts  in 2 Corinthians 10:12,

When they  measure themselves  by themselves,  and compare themselves  with themselves,  they are without understanding.

Instead of setting ourselves up  as the ideal measure  for all of mankind’s  worth,  we need  to set up our heavenly Father  as our ideal.    Ephesians 5:1 says,  “Be imitators  of God,  as beloved children.”     That is why Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 10:18,

For  not  he  who commends himself  is approved,  but  whom the Lord commends.

When we pray,  let us really pray  to our Lord and Savior,  giving Him alone  thanks and praise  for everything He does  for us.     Let us not vainly think  of ourselves  as better,  smarter,  more talented,  more holy,  or more successful  than others,  because God does not see us  that way.

As we humbly bow  before the Lord of all,  and implore His forgiveness,  we will receive the peace  of being justified  by His grace  through faith.     Then we will be enabled to say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  Your almighty love  in Jesus Christ  truly washes away  all my sins.     Thank You  for Your grace and mercy  towards everyone  who comes to You.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

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Praise is becoming  to the upright.
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How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
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Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
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Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
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Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
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Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
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