Yesterday I was driving across the Narrows Bridge and saw an old guy with his wife sitting next to him on a riding lawnmower. Dead serious it happened right in front of my eyes. That is not a short bridge, and these two folks were not small people, but somehow this fine man was shuttling his gal across the bridge on a sunny day. Incredible! So this morning I am driving into Seattle listening to Tim Keller’s “Inside-out Living”, and I am struck by this statment from scripture: “The Pharisee stood up and prayed to God about himself” (Lk 18:11) I’ve never noticed that before, he didn’t really pray to God or because of relationship with his Creator, but it was all about self. went before God to tell him how good he was, “I fast two times a week and give a tenth of all I get (so get off my back)” (v12) This man came to God to inform him why he should be blessesd.
There is another man in the story who has a completely different approach. He had a certain understanding of his place before God and his prayer was simply: Lord have mercy on me a THE sinner.” (v13). Now our NIV interpretation is too civilized too communicate the true text here, which is THE sinner, not a sinner. Basically, this man understood his place before God. He did not look around to see who sinned more than him. He did not look to see whom he could compare himself to, he just looked at he own life, realized that he needed God, and asked for Him to show up. This man’s approach to prayer seems to be what Jesus is in on.
Prayer: Lord God, have mercy on me THE sinner today. Amen