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.’ Luke 18:11
Jesus told a parable of two men going into the temple to pray. One of them, a Pharisee, prayed with great pride. The other, a tax collector, prayed with extreme humility. Jesus commended the tax collector.
Pharisees were considered the holy men and leaders of the temple during the biblical times. They were supposed to be the people closest to God. While tax collectors were considered the scum of the earth. Very few people were considered as less than the hated tax collector.
Although when a person prays to God, there is no hard command on how to pray, there are some things that show up in how a person prays. One of the things that can show up is humility.
One common way some people pray is as though they are God’s gift to this world and to God. They feel as though God owes them everything, because they are such a ‘good’ person. There is very little humility in their lives.
Although the Pharisee may have been correct in that he was not same as some of those others in his outward actions, he was still the same and worse in other ways. Every person has sinned, and in his own being does not deserve a right to stand before God.
The right to stand before God has nothing to do with what a person has or has not done. It has to do with the heart. When a person has repented of his sins and is following Jesus, he, then, has the right to stand before God. At that point he has been made a child of God.
This is unlike the Pharisee, who thought he had the right to stand before God, without Christ.
You, nor anyone else, has a right to stand before God without the forgiveness and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
When you take time to pray, you must ask yourself how you pray. Do you demand God listen to you? Do you feel you are a better believer than others?
Or do you allow God to be ruler over your life and humble yourself before Him?
During times of prayer, humble yourself before God. Allow God to be the king of your life.
I pray today that you will know who you are in Christ Jesus; that you will know true humility before God; that you will allow God to rule your life; and that God will help you remove all pride in your life.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
After predicting His death, Jesus took some of the disciples and went to a place to pray alone. He was in great sorrow knowing what was about to happen. Jesus knew that with God anything was possible, so He asked if it would be possible to change what He had to do. However, He finished His prayer with saying it was up to God to do what He wanted to do.
In the workplace there should always be one person who is the head boss at all times. This is the person who has the final say in what happens in the workplace. All the workers under that person are supposed to follow all of his orders.
Many times some of the other workers do not like what the boss or manager says and try to do their own thing, without permission. When this happens, often there is chaos or mistakes are made. Managers will often give a few warnings and then fire a person from the job, who does not want to follow the commands.
People often put God in a box and do not allow Him to be in complete control. They will look at a few verses in the Bible and then demand that God must do something a certain way. They think that they know what is best for their lives and that God must work that way. If He doesn’t work that way, they get upset.
God always sees the bigger picture. He knows what is best for you and for everyone else in this world, all at the same time. As a human being, you only see the here and now. Your vision is very limited. What you ask for may look good for you and others involved, but God may see something that shows it is not the best.
If God would have chosen to remove the crucifixion from Jesus, then there would be no salvation available for you or anyone else today. God chose that path with you in mind and knew it was the best way for Jesus to love everyone in this world.
As you pray today, ask God to do what He thinks is best–His will. Do not force Him to do your will.
I pray today that you will know what God’s will is; that you will allow God to do what He desires; that you will trust God’s will for your life; and that you will not fear what God brings in your path.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
Jesus makes a very harsh statement that not everyone who calls Him Lord will be saved. It is only those who will do the will of God the Father in heaven.
Words and statements can sound very good. If a person can word it correctly, he can make the best sounding arguments or thoughts. The words can make a person look or sound very good, even when they are not.
People who kidnap or abuse children, often use kind, nice words to trap them. They speak as though they are the best person on the earth, yet are filled with evil. Their actions do not match their words.
Inside the church, there are also many people who claim that Jesus is Lord, know all the verses to say, and can sing all the songs, yet never do His will at all. Some don’t do it out of fear, because what God is asking them to do sounds crazy. Others don’t do it out of rebellion, because they want to still do their own thing. Some start to do God’s will, but when it gets difficult, they give up and go on a different path.
God will never ask a person to do something that He is not willing to give the strength and ability to do. He has perfect love for each person, which will cast out the fear a person may have.
Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing. You are to be just like Jesus. Getting into heaven is not just a simple prayer and a few words. It is also actions based off of those words and prayers. If your actions do not back up the words, then the words are of no meaning or purpose.
In your own life, you must take a look at how you look at Jesus. You may call Him ‘Lord’, but is He really your Master?
As you call Him ‘Lord’, are you doing what the Father wants?
Just as you call out on Jesus to save you, you must also be willing to do what the Father wants you to do. Seek God and find out what He wants you to do, then just do it. It will be worth it in the end.
I pray today that you will know God’s will for your life; that you will not fear what God asks you to do; that you will do more than just speak to God; and that your actions will show you are a follower of Jesus.
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7
Going into exile was a difficult thing for the Israelites of Judah to do. As they are going into exile, God now tells them to settle in and serve their enemy. Then on top of that God tells them to pray for their enemy to prosper. His reason for praying for the enemy to prosper is that if the enemy prospers, so do the Israelites.
Praying for the enemy is something many Christians have no problem doing. However, it is how they pray for the enemy that is different. It is common to hear a Christian pray for his enemy that God would strike them down, or remove them. The focus is to change that person, so that one can have a better life. The problem with this type of prayer is that it is totally self-focused.
Years later Jesus would tell all believers to pray for their enemy and bless them, not curse them. Praying for the prosperity of your enemy is a blessing upon them. Doing this shows the enemy the love of God, not the hatred of people.
Not blessing your enemy will fall back on you in the same way. If the economy of everyone around you is failing, your economy will also fail. If there is no peace with everyone around you, then you will not have any peace either. If there is poverty all around you, then you will also have poverty.
No person can have peace or prosperity completely alone. It takes a community to have either. There will always be some in your community that will be your enemy–those who do not follow Jesus. If they do not prosper, you cannot prosper.
Along with physical prosperity, every person needs to know the love of Jesus. If you are praying against them and for their downfall, where is there any love in that? How will they know the love of Jesus, when all they see is hatred?
You may not always agree with your enemy, but you can pray for God to bless them and draw them closer to Him by His love and care. It is His kindness that will draw them to Him.
I pray today that you will know God’s love for your enemies; that you will show God’s love to your enemies; that you will be able to pray God’s blessings on your enemies; and that many will come to know Jesus through the love you show them.
I say to the LORD, “You are my God.” Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy. Psalm 140:6
It is common for people to cry out to God when in need. When a person is going through a very difficult time, he will call out to God for help and mercy in the situation. Others will intercede for him also, asking God to help meet that need.
In the process of praying for assistance from God, many will begin to list the reasons why God should help. In this list, many will bring up all the good deeds that has been done. They are listed as though God should help a person because of what he has done in the past.
When a person is praying like this, either for himself or for someone else, the prayer becomes about self and not about God and what He wants. No person actually deserves God’s help in any situation. In fact, every person deserves the worst possible punishment for all eternity.
Only because Jesus died and paid for the price for all sin, does any person have any right to ask God for anything. It is because God is God that a person has a right to cry out for mercy.
When David was crying out for mercy to God, he did not list anything that he had done. All he did was ask for God’s mercy in dealing with his enemies. He knew God as His God and that God was the one in control and could deliver him. No one else could help him, and he did not deserve the help. Any mercy given by God was a blessing, not an earned right.
As you go to God in prayer for your own personal needs, or the needs of others, allow God to be the one in control. Seek His mercy to meet that need. Do not try to earn the right for Him to help you.
God loves you and had Jesus pay the price for you sins. In paying that price, you are also given the right to have His mercy given to you. It is only because of Jesus, that you can have God’s mercy. Jesus provided abundant mercy in just forgiving your sins, He will continue to pour out that mercy in your life.
I pray today that you will know the mercy God has for you; that you will not try to earn rights with God; that God will be your God; and that you will see God meeting all of your needs in His way and time.
“if my people, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Solomon had built and dedicated the new temple for God, who came down and inhabited it. During the night God appeared to Solomon to let him know that He heard his prayers and saw the work he had done. Then God tells Solomon that if His people, after walking away from Him, choose to humble themselves, repent and come back to Him, He will hear them.
This verse is a very commonly quoted verse by many believers. It is most common when things are going bad in the nation.
The “wicked ways” that is mentioned in this verse, is often looked at as the deep sinful practices of people in this world. Although it is true that some believers have turned from God and followed some wicked ways of this world, there can be more to those ways than just following this world.
Jesus had come to seek and save the lost in this world. When Jesus was getting ready to leave the earth, He told the disciples to go and make disciples in all of the world. Believers were to continue to do as Jesus had done. They were to be a witness of who He is and what He has done and will do.
Believers who have chosen not to do what Jesus told them to do, have fallen into wicked ways by omission. When people are not being told about Jesus, or are not being taught what Jesus taught, they will not follow God correctly. Those who are not being a witness and a teacher of the ways of Jesus, are living in sin. It is not gross “big” sins, but it is still sin.
God told Solomon that it was His people who had to humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways. It was not to the people of the world that He spoke to.
How are you living your life today?
You may not be living in some great, horrible sin, but are you being the witness of Jesus today to those around you. If you are not doing that, you are still living in a wicked way.
You definitely need to turn from all sin, but do not forget that in that process you must also begin to do the work God has called you to do…be His witness. If you do one and not the other, you are still living in sin. Humble yourself and turn today.
I pray today that you will know God’s desire for your life; that you will be a witness for Jesus; that you will turn from all sin; and that you will seek to live fully for God.