Daily Devotional 5-19-20

Pleasing Prayers II 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

“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.” Luke 18:10-14

Through this parable, Jesus reveals another important mark of a prayer that pleases God––humility. The Pharisee in the above story was self-righteous, claiming to have the right to be heard by God because of his religiously legalistic rituals. He was full of himself. He was the focus of his prayer. It was never about God. He brought into the arena of prayer an attitude of self-sufficiency and cockiness. Can you imagine? He even looked down on the tax collector in the temple! Yes, even the proud pray to God, but their prayers are not heard. On the other hand, the tax collector considered the opportunity to pray to God a privilege he did not deserve. He came with a humble attitude. As opposed to the Pharisee, he felt unqualified.  Yet, deep down in his heart he knew of the mercy of God and tapped into it.

As we read yesterday, Solomon, too, approached God from a humble position. He grew up learning palace protocols, diplomatic relations, international policies, etc. He ascended to the throne with some skills and competencies. Yet, he approached God as a child who did not have the capability to serve God’s chosen people. It was his heart of humility that made him see himself as a child before God.

Humility is an important mark of a prayer that pleases God.

With what attitude do you make your prayers?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to humble before you and people, so that my prayers may not be wasted.