A Prayer of Exultation or Humility?



PRAYER 1 – The Pharisee: “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.”

PRAYER 2 – The Tax Collector: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

If I am really honest with myself and with you, there have been so many times in my life that I have prayed like the Pharisee. My pride of thinking that I am better than others is something I despise. I know I am no better than anyone else yet it can be easy for me to still get caught up in the “what about me” moment.

Today by the grace of God, I am more likely to pray as the Tax Collector. God has made known to me the miserable, sinful person I am. Yet with all my glaring faults, he has also made known to me how much he loves me.

Jesus finishes with tremendous words of wisdom in this Gospel parable from Luke 18 that we should take to heart as he says to us, “I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” May we all receive the grace to get on our knees before our Lord and humbly beg for his mercy reciting the prayer of the Tax Collector, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

Mike Burke; Saturday, March 5, 2016
A Prayer of Exultation or Humility?

5 thoughts on “A Prayer of Exultation or Humility?

  1. I would like to comment by enclosing an email I dictated one cold night last month:

    (Dictated into my cell phone on the evening of January 19, 2016)
    I’m driving through Travelers Rest, watching the gas gauge because I am just about out of gas. I have about a dollar seventy five to my name and I’m making plans.
    There’s a gas station at the Green River exit on 25 and I’m thinking of offering to clean the bathroom in exchange for two gallons of gas.
    I’m recording this because I’m thinking about what it’s like to live like this…for the people who live like this every day of their lives, and can’t get out of the downward spiral.
    All of my life I have come across people who live this way, hand to mouth. I have to admit that I have very often thought that they somehow deserved to live this way,  either because they were wasteful and stupid or because they had an entitlement mentality; by that, I mean they were so used to social programs that there was no other way to live. They didn’t seem to know how to take care of themselves.
    God was I wrong. There is no dignity in this.  Yes, I have been stupid and wasteful.  But, I believe it takes more strength to hold your head up, survive this, and ask for help than it does to work a hard, paying job.
    I will make it through this. I know I will. I’m having to convince my daughter that she, too, will survive this because she, too, is overdrawn and facing rent day. But I’m also having to teach her that this is a God lesson in humility. This whole scenario is destroying my pride. And that is a good thing…a God thing.
    To identify with the people who live on the streets or in their cars or in 60 year old house trailers with the floors falling in… it’s a good place to be.
    God, forgive me for all those times when I have felt superior to people who have nothing. Forgive me for making them feel bad by looking the other way or not smiling, for not looking them in the eyes, or not offering to help.
    And for all those empty-headed idiots who say people who live on the street do so because they want to…I can’t think of a curse strong enough for them.
    Well, I did it.  I stopped at the Green River exit and asked the attendant if I could clean the bathrooms for two gallons of gas.  He deferred to the manager/owner. First, she calculates how much two gallons is going to cost her, asks me where I’m going, and how many miles I get to a gallon.  She then tells me she’s already cleaned up and they close in 10 minutes, so, “no.”  I wait.  She waits back.  So I leave, with no gas.
    I drove 40 to 50 miles on an empty tank, like the miracle of Hanukkah, all over again.
    I’m now at my daughter’s apartment where it’s warm.  It’s 19 degrees outside and I’m thinking about the people broken down by the side of the road, or ‘sleeping’ under bridges, or in their cars, or even in shelters.  I beg God to bless them, if not in this life then in the next one.  And, please, if they sleep, may they know in their dreams that someone is sorry, very sorry, that someone cares for them even if there is nothing she can do to help, and that she loves them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing Kitsy. Your recent story is one of great desperation with no answer except the love and mercy of God to bring you through. I hope and pray that you and your daughter are safer and in a better state in life today.

    As I read, I felt embarrassed as a human being that you were sent away with no gas. You could have suffered much greater. Have I ever done something like that store owner? Probably. For sure to Jesus.

    I have been brought low, what I thought was my rock bottom and today slowly moving up trusting God. Maybe it was not my bottom but I have no one else to trust but God.

    I pray God’s mercy and love upon you, your daughter and all of your loved ones. My life has changed so much drawing closer to Jesus with the help of the prayers of his mother and my mother Mary. I ask her to help you.

    God bless you for taking the time to share your personal story with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know that by being so outspoken about my being an ambassador for Christ, that I am drawing attention to myself and will probably face an onslaught of temptations, bad decisions, and just plain darkness. Pray for me as I continue to speak out as Jesus wants me to. (For example, every time…EVERY TIME…I type the name of Jesus into my phone, the editor changes the name to Jesup, Jesuit, Jeffrey, etc. God, give me strength…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! That is an area that I have had to earnestly pray about. My zeal for Christ can turn people away from him.

      I have focused on being Christ for others and speaking less about him initially. When asked though, I pray to speak with his love and compassion.

      Liked by 1 person

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