Humility in Prayer – Luke 18:9-14
Do you know who it is that you are praying to? When you kneel next to your bed, sit at the dinner table, give praise for avoiding an accident, or gather together with your brothers and sisters in a prayer circle, do you fully understand who it is you are going to share your words with?
I watched a video of a man named Louie Giglio speaking a couple years ago. His sermon was entitled “How Great Is Our God.” Before his talk his friend Chris Tomlin wrote a song matching the title of the sermon. In the sermon, Louie compares our earth to a golf ball. Then, through a series of mathematical equations he explains to those watching how small we really are. He even uses a phrase repeatedly, “If earth were a golf ball, can you find yourself on it.” As the talk goes on he shows how many earth sized golf balls fit into our solar system, the sun, and my personal favorite Canus Majoris– The Big Dog. The challenge then is to find the one earth sized golf ball you are on and then find yourself.
When I picture something like this I am greatly humbled. I love to think of God as my closest friend and companion. Someone I can walk around with and talk to, but like friendships sometimes this is taken for granted. To be honest, sometimes I get so comfortable with my image of God that I forget who it really is I am talking to. Sometimes we even try to talk to God like he might not understand us or we try to impress him with our big words. In fact, sometimes our prayers become about us drawing attention to ourselves.
In those moments I found myself thinking back to the parable Jesus tells about a Pharisee and a tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. I picture the Pharisee swiping the area around him with his long robe to make a space big enough for his ego and clearing his throat to draw in the crowd. His words are poetic, but spiritually empty. Then, comes the tax collector. Embarrassed of his actions from the day, humbled to be present before the Lord. His head is down and he tries hard to convince himself that he isn’t worthy to even offer a prayer. Out of his broken heart through his mouth comes these simple words, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Jesus closes the story by explaining that the humble will be exalted. When you pray, do you recognize who it is that you pray to? Before you start next time, I challenge you to spend a few extra moments in a position of great humility.