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Pray with a humble heart

Based on Sir 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk 18:9-14

Prayer – part two. Last week Jesus told us to be persistent and faithful in prayer – never give up and pray always.

This week Jesus tells us about the need for humility in our prayer – to accept the truth about ourselves and not to think we are better than others.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells the parable about two men at prayer. One was a Pharisee who strictly observed the religious laws. The other was a publican who collected taxes for the Roman rulers.

While the Pharisee stood and prayed, reviewing all the good he had done, and thanking God that he’s not like everyone else, the tax collector at the back of the temple bowed his head, acknowledged his sins, and prayed for God’s mercy.

Jesus said, “It was the second man, and not the first, who pleased God with his prayer.”

The tax collector prayed to God from his heart – confessing his sins, asking for God’s forgiveness and mercy and not boasting about himself.

The Pharisee’s prayer was really self-advertising his good deeds. His attention was on himself, not on God. He completely forgot his need for God’s grace, forgiveness and mercy.

Just keeping the rules, just keeping away from sin, is not what being a Christian is about. Being a Christian means working toward a closer, loving relationship with God. Unless we keep striving to know more about Jesus as a person, becoming more like him in mind and heart and committed to carrying out his mission on earth, we are not living the Christian life; we are just rule keepers.

Remember, God doesn’t compare us to others. He loves us just as we are. Think about all the ways God cares for us: He sent his Son to die for us; he wants us to be part of his kingdom; he sends his grace and blessings to help us live our faith and keep us in his love.

Thank you, Father, for your love and grace to help us become more like Jesus.