I remember growing up in church and when people would pray, I would think “wow they must be close to God”. They would use big words, they would change the inflection of their voice, and it just seemed like they were close to God.
I'm sure these men meant nothing by their prayer performance, but it made me scared to pray in front of other people. I thought that I had to know the exact right words to say and was always afraid to mess up in front of others.
Now being much older in my faith I understand that prayer is special, we do not have to know exactly what to say. We do not have to know big theological words for God to hear us. What God wants more than anything in our prayers is humble submission to him.
So as we continue to think about prayer today I want to encourage you to just pray period. Very simply prayer is just talking to God. That's the blessing that we get when we can talk to God about anything. We all have enough gone on in our lives that we need to be able to stop what we're doing and pray. And knowing that we are able to pray through the creator of the universe should give us confidence to be able to make it through whatever the day may bring.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”