Luke 18:11-12 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
We have the blessed promise in God’s Word that He will honor prayer, but the fact is that not all prayers are honorable such as the Pharisee’s prayer.
The Pharisee’s had a high standard, they believed the law to the letter, they were generous for they tithed their garden fruits, and they were dedicated to the temple in their fasting and prayers.
Clovis Chappell was talking once to a man who said they were decent men. He replied back to the man, “yes they are decent alright, they were decent devils?”
Jesus said, on the outside, they looked like whitewashed tombs but on the inside, they looked like dead men bones. When this man began to pray, he gave himself away for he revealed his inward self; his true identify. Let us notice what his prayer reveal about his attitudes.
I-NOTICE IT WAS A DISHONORABLE PRAYER:
A-Because He Was Self-Centered:
1-In verse 11, he is praying with himself. He is not praying to God but simply boasting to others about the good things he was doing. He had “I” trouble.
2-Jesus said, they loved to stand praying in the market place that men might hear them.
3-It is not the purpose of prayer to show off before men, but to pour out our heart to God.
4-D.L. Moody said, “I can always tell when a man is a long way from God for he is always talking about himself.”
5- Corrie Ten Boom used to tell the story about a proud woodpecker who was tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces. Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew off, screeching to his feathered friends, "Hey, everyone, look what I did! Look what I did!" This old woodpecker reminds me of people who think more highly of themselves than they should. Usually they are so busy bragging about their achievements and their greatness that they fail to recognize God as the source of all their abilities. They are suffering from spiritual delusions of grandeur. Without the Lord no one amounts to anything, and in our own strength we cannot please Him. 1
6-During the Battle of the Wilderness in the Civil War, Union general John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops. At one point he came to a parapet, over which he gazed out in the direction of the enemy. His officers suggested that this was unwise and perhaps he ought to duck while passing the parapet. "Nonsense," snapped the general. "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist--." A moment later Sedgwick fell to the ground, fatally wounded. 2
B-Because He Was Scornful:
1-He counted others as nothing. He thought that God couldn’t possibly love them. He was good and everybody else was bad.
2-He was trying to elevate himself by downing others.
3-He had forgotten that the Bible says, your love for God is measured by your love for others.
4-In our relationships with others, often what passes for love is little more than a neat business transaction. People are kind to us, so we repay them with equal consideration. When they treat us unjustly, our negative response is really what they asked for. Everything is so balanced, so fair, so logical with this eye-for-an- eye and tooth-for-a-tooth kind of justice. But Christian love never settles for only what's reasonable. It insists on giving mercy as well as justice. It breaks the chain of logical reactions.
General Robert E. Lee was asked what he thought of a fellow officer in the Confederate Army who had made some derogatory remarks about him. Lee rated him as being very satisfactory. The person who asked the question seemed perplexed. "General," he said, "I guess you don't know what he's been saying about you." "I know," answered Lee. "But I was asked my opinion of him, not his opinion of me!" 3
II-NOTICE IT WAS A DECEPTIVE PRAYER:
A-There Was No Repentance:
1-In his prayer, there was no guilt of sin, no confession of sin.
2-He thought he measured up because he was measuring against the wrong standard, man-kind instead of God.
3- In Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Willie Loman found a way to justify everything he did. He showed no concern when his children got into trouble by their lying and stealing. He figured, "It's no big deal. After all, that's what politicians do all the time." Willie was finally fired from his job, and in the end he committed suicide. Rationalization led to disaster. The famous physician and author A. J. Cronin took the opposite path. In his autobiography he tells how he came to see that his own wisdom and resources were totally inadequate to meet his deepest spiritual needs. He finally surrendered his heart to Christ, or as he put it, to "the inexorable appeal of the Cross." Of his experience Cronin said, "I had made the immense discovery of why I was alive." Repentance led to life. 4