by Philip Layton
Jesus welcomes children, predicts his death and warns about the love of possessions
- Was the Pharisee (vv 9-14) in error to pray boldly, to exalt himself, or to compare himself with others?
- Is there a difference between a childish and a childlike faith?
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!
Going Deeper from 'Words of Life'
One helpful preparation for living cross-culturally is studying sociograms of host cultures and adapting our expectations accordingly. Individuality and independence are highly valued in some societies while the harmony of the group is most important in others. Our self-sufficiency can limit effectiveness in prayer too.
Although the Bible teaches that God wants our cooperation, he does not want us to take over. We assume we can forge ahead based on our experience, and proceed without his guidance. But even similar people and situations are never exactly alike. We need God’s direction. His comprehension of the need and its eternal significance is full, ours partial.
Self-defence can limit our prayers. We may excuse a stubborn will or character flaw and be unwilling to get close to God and his holiness, lest something more be expected from us. Self-defence can take the form of self-righteousness. It may even keep us from missing a sense of God’s presence.
In Luke 18, Jesus’ illustration of prayer centres around the attitudes of two people who visited the Temple. One stood by himself, possibly to draw attention to his prayer and its theme, his worthiness. The NKJV says that he ‘prayed with himself’ (v. 11). The other person stood at a distance with bowed head and heart and in humble and sorrowful words acknowledged his unworthiness and prayed for mercy. Jesus said it was this man who went home right with God.
Power in prayer is a by-product, not prayer’s main aim. An attitude of love for God is expressed through staying in accord with him and wanting his way. Being lost in God is the surest way of finding his limitless strength for our day.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve thee as thy hosts above;
Pray and praise thee without ceasing,
Glory in thy perfect love.
Charles Wesley (SASB 438)
Beverly IvanyTags: Luke