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Luke 18 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
- This Pharisee (vv9-13) went to the temple not to pray to God but to show off his own good conduct. On the other hand, the tax collector went to confess and to ask for mercy. Which person’s prayer is more like your prayer?
- Repentance does not happen on our own. It is a gift from God and He delights to give to all who ask. We pray this sinner’s prayer (v13) constantly to ask for the grace of repentance. This is the prayer of tears. It will lead us to receive God’s gift of forgiveness, cleansing and healing.
- This sinner’s prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner” is widely known as the Eastern Orthodox spiritual tradition. In fact, the prayer itself doesn’t have any magic power. However, asking God’s mercy shows our poverty and helplessness. This is a stark contrast to our modern thinking that we are self-sufficient and satisfied. Therefore, we don’t feel the need for God’s mercy. We’ve lost the hunger and humility for God. Yet, this prayer reminds us that we desperately need God’s mercy for our lives.
- To conclude the QT today, pray this short prayer repeatedly. Practice to pray this prayer often for a spirit of repentance in your heart.