BY REV. DORAL PULLEY, Today’s Church Tampa Bay
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican (Luke 18:10).”
To help his disciples understand the difference between traditional praying and Kingdom praying, Jesus, who represents the Christ consciousness, told them a parable about a Pharisee and a publican (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee, a devout Jew, spent his entire conversation with God comparing himself to other people. He thanked God that he was not like people who were adulterers, unjust, extortionists, or publicans. He reminded God of all the Prayer Tools that he used, such as paying tithes and fasting twice a week.
The publican, who considered himself a sinner, did not compare himself to anyone. He focused his prayer on God and asked for mercy because he knew there was room for improvement in his thoughts, words, and deeds.
Jesus ended the teaching by asking the disciples what they thought about the two prayers. They concluded that the publican was more effective in prayer. The Pharisees’ prayer was ineffective because it was rooted in unhealthy pride and self-righteousness. He used his prayer time to lift himself and to put the publican down.
Each path to wholeness is personal; therefore, it is useless to compare one relationship with God to another based on external behaviors. Your relationship with God is a matter of the heart (I Samuel 16:7). Thank God for your holistic growth and development without comparing yourself to anyone else. Glorify God for the progress that you have made on your journey without looking at anyone else. Look at your life and praise God for how far you have come.
Exercise: List 3 areas where you have grown in Christ. Describe where you used to be and where you are now. Once you complete the list, read it aloud and praise God for the blessings and lessons from each transformation.
Rev. Doral Pulley is the senior pastor of Today’s Church Tampa Bay, 940 5th Ave. S, St. Petersburg (Staybridge Suites) and 5107 North Central Ave., Tampa.