Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee…

Luke 18:10-11a

The Pharisee’s prayer begins by reporting to God what he was doing, thanking God. “God, I thank thee….”

Mirrored here is the autobiographical self-reporting so prevalent in prayer. Examples include, “God, we thank thee…”, “Father, we are thankful…”, “Father, I pray…”, “We ask you, Lord…” Once you begin listening for the Pharisee’s gramatical style, you’ll hear it in prayers everywhere. Isn’t it an irony how easy it is to make prayer an excercise of informing God and men of our own prayerfulness, thankfulness, etc?

In contrast, the publican was direct. None of this “I pray”, “I ask”, but, “God be…” Jesus comments:

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for…

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