He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'
The poor man utters supplications, but the rich man answers roughly.
'Poverty tells men they must not order or demand. And at the throne of God's grace we are all poor, and must use entreaties' (Matthew Henry's Commentary on Proverbs 18:23).
The Bible shows us different kinds of prayers, including prayers of faith, praise, worship, thanksgiving, agreement, contrition, confession, consecration, contemplation, supplication, affirmation, intercession, imprecation and praying in tongues.*
The Bible shows us different times to pray, including prayer at certain hours, prayer in early mornings, prayer in all-night vigils, prayer during our trials, prayer before our meals, prayer before big moves and prayer without ceasing.**
The Bible shows us different postures in prayer, including postures of sitting, kneeling, bowing, walking, chest-beating, lying face down and standing hands up.***
All things considered, I admit: I'm not a prayer expert. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Nevertheless, I'd like to share three of my own conclusions:
1) Prayer life can grow shallow, as routines become commonplace. When our minds wander or we can't wait to finish, we're stagnant.
2) Repentance, recommitment and reconnection are vital. Our hearts must be fully engaged for God to engage with us.
3) Humility in prayer is absolutely essential. We don't deserve anything, except by the love of Jesus. We must embrace our roles as poor people outside of our Lord.
To Be Continued...
* Short articles on different types of prayers: http://www.gotquestions.org/types-of-prayer.html; http://www.prayeronline.org.au/types-of-prayer; http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prayer/3006-god-has-an-answer; http://www.prayerpartners.com/HowTo/PrayerTypes.htm; http://www.prayereleven.org/socp/types-of-prayer/
** Short articles on prayer times: http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-perfect-prayer-time-3-a-m-133723/; http://prayerfoundation.org/dailyoffice/z_daily_office_000_index.htm; http://jesusalive.cc/ques204.htm; https://lnixon.wordpress.com/2007/06/01/when-did-jesus-pray/
*** Short articles on postures in prayers: http://iblp.org/questions/what-significance-using-different-postures-prayer; http://www.wnop.org/articles-on-prayer/54-articles/452-different-positions-of-prayer-in-the-bible
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Poor People series.