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Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Good First Prayer

February 8

(Luke 18:10-14 NIV) "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. {11} The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The Pharisee’s prayer failed to connect with God, but the tax collector’s unsophisticated prayer did connect. The prayer that takes us to God must be more than a prayer for forgiveness. It must be a prayer of repentance. Praying for forgiveness is usually about relieving guilt. We want the burden lifted, but just getting rid of guilt will not change your life. Changing your life requires a change in your direction, and at the heart of repentance is a willingness to turn around and go the other way. Repentance is about more than just being sorry. It’s about being sorry enough to quit; quit doing what you’ve been doing, quit living the way you’re currently living. If you are ready to reverse course, a simple and sincere prayer like the tax collector prayed in Luke 18, is an excellent way to get started. Stop running, turn around, face God, and pray for mercy. Repent! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

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