Tuesday, January 27th

Tuesday, January 27th

The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ Luke 18:11-12

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36

What has 8 eyes but can't see beyond its own nose? How about the Pharisee and his prayer in the passage above. The passage uses the word "I" eight times and God once. While this is rather revealing there is something else that stands out from the passage that is quite striking. Think about the words, "The Pharisee stood by himself." The initial meaning is not so striking: he is simply standing away from other people. More striking is the attitude these words reveal. This man stands away from other people because he believes he is spiritually better and above other people. There is another meaning that is even more striking that we can draw from these words: in the midst of praying to God he is "by himself." The Pharisee has chosen to disassociate himself from other people because of his attitude of superiority. The result is that God has chosen to disassociate himself with the Pharisee so that even in the middle of prayer he is all alone.

The focus of the Romans passage above is on God as evidenced by the 10 references to him. While there are 5 eferences to us, each one speaks of us in contrast to God and his awesome superiority. God absolutely needs to be the focus of our praying. Here again is the ending of the Romans passage: "For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen." Prayer # 1 from this week's message is: "God, you are awesome." Come to him in prayer and tell him over and over that he is awesome. Glorify him and him alone through praise. This is the key to experiencing an intimate awareness of God. Praise puts us squarely on the pathway of a full prayer relationship with God.

Lord, you really do inhabit the praise I offer to you. Help me to come to you believing you are right there before me. Help me to take my place before you as a true worshiper. Help me to bow before you as one who exists for you and not you for me. Help me to praise you from the depth of my heart and soul. God, you are awesome!

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