The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...The nitty gritty on prayer

I'm not going to pull any punches here.  For most of us guys, we don't pray with some high-fluting words and eloquence.  Prayer for me has often been one more thing on my to-do list.

That was until I wrestled with today's parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector:

Luke 18:9-14 NKJV  Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  (10)  "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  (11)  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  (12)  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'  (13)  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'  (14)  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

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"Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner."  That simple prayer, known as the "Jesus Prayer" is only part of this story.  But it is part of my story and one which has helped me to learn to pray, simply, concisely and from my soul.

You do realize that there is over 2,000 years of church history and prayer practices right?  Who we are in 2012 as a church has been influenced by many of these practices long forgotten.  But just cause their forgotten doesn't mean they have less value, it just means we need to take a new look...and listen.

Ken is the Associate Pastor at Cumming First United Methodist and lead preacher for the NEW 9:51 Worship service meeting each Sunday morning.


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