God’s Word of Prayer
Luke 18:1-14: Today’s reading includes two parables. The first teaches about being persistent in prayer, and the second about approaching God in prayer with a humble heart.
The Parable of the Widow and the Judge
1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged. 2“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3And there was a widow in that same town who kept coming to him and pleading for her rights, saying, ‘Help me against my opponent!’ 4For a long time the judge refused to act, but at last he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect people, 5yet because of all the trouble this widow is giving me, I will see to it that she gets her rights. If I don’t, she will keep on coming and finally wear me out!’”
6And the Lord continued, “Listen to what that corrupt judge said. 7 Now, will God not judge in favor of his own people who cry to him day and night for help? Will he be slow to help them? 8I tell you, he will judge in their favor and do it quickly. But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?”
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9Jesus also told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else. 10“Once there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12I fast two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.”
Today’s Key Verse: Luke 18:14b
[Jesus said:] “For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.”
In what ways are the prayers of the widow and the tax collector models for prayer? Are you able to identify with anyone in these parables? How would you describe your own prayer life?
Lord God have pity on me, a sinner! I offer you my humble heart and confess to you my shortcomings. Cleanse me of my sin and teach me to walk in the way of your truth. Thank you for your steadfast love and forgiveness. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Psalm 132: A psalm in praise of the Temple.