Summary: As we keep on praying faith is developed so as our integrity.
“Prayer Impacts our Integrity”
Good morning praying people of MMIM. How is your prayer life now? How is your attitude in prayer today? Now, get a partner (not a member of your family) and pray for that person without asking any of his/her prayer requests…
What can you say about the prayer for you? Are they sincere?
The reason why I ask is because some people just pray without sincerity. They do it out of duty or part of the routine of life.
I remember a story of Jesus about the two different persons who prayed to God. Let’s all stand and read Luke 18:10-14 10 "Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, and the other a cheating tax collector. 11 The proud Pharisee 'prayed' this prayer: 'Thank God, I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don't commit adultery, 12 I go without food twice a week, and I give to God a tenth of everything I earn.' 13 "But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, but beat upon his chest in sorrow, exclaiming, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.' 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home forgiven! For the proud shall be humbled, but the humble shall be honored." TLB
What can we learn about praying with integrity in the story?
Simple, let’s observe the way each character prayed… the first character is very proud and the other is down to earth.
Here’s what I learned from the story…
The first character speaks about most people who practice…
I. Pseudo Integrity in Prayer
“The proud Pharisee 'prayed' this prayer: 'Thank God, I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don't commit adultery, 12 I go without food twice a week, and I give to God a tenth of everything I earn.”
A. Focus on Self
- Don’t be a proud Pharisee in approaching the throne of God.
- There’s no need for us to recite all of the good things we have done in prayer because He knew it already. In fact He knew everything.
- Don’t try to build yourself up in order to appear right before the Lord.
- Pseudo integrity in prayer is praying centers on no other than your self.
- This is a kind of prayer that says “I”, “Me”, “My”, and “My Self”
B. False Speculations
- Why did I say false speculations? Because the Pharisee is expecting that God will favor him because he is better than the tax collector.
- By citing all the good things he has done… he is expecting that the Lord will be pleased on him.
- Praying with false speculation is based on a wrong motive and at the end it will achieve nothing.
The second character speaks about very few people who practice…
II. Pure Integrity in Prayer
"But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, but beat upon his chest in sorrow, exclaiming, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
- Standing in a distance, not even lift his eyes… are manifestations of his acknowledgement of his unworthiness before the Lord.
- The tax collector knows that he has sinned against the Lord. There is admittance of his condition of hopelessness.
- To maintain our integrity in prayer it is important that we acknowledge first who we are to enable us to approach the throne of God with humility.
- The tax collector admitted that he needed God’s help.
- He knew that God is disappointed in him because of his sins.
- Instead of making a defense, he humble down and ask for God’s mercy.
- He knew that God is able and willing to help those who are seeking His help.
Now, how can we benefit from the story? We should…
III. Practice Integrity in Prayer
Luke 18:14 “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home forgiven! For the proud shall be humbled, but the humble shall be honored."
A. Admit that you are a sinner
- There is no need to prove to God that you’re doing good things for Him.
- No matter how good we are… generally man are still sinners.
- Humility is a wonderful manifestation of integrity in prayer.
B. Ask God’s Mercy
- The tax collector returned home forgiven.
- Between the two characters in the story the tax collector was able to pray with integrity and not the Pharisee who is a very religious person.
“When praying always acknowledge that God is Holy and we are sinners”