God wants to hear sincerity in our prayer, not vanity. As we pray, let’s be determined to stay steadfastly humble before the Lord.
Fortunately, God extends mercy to everyone who comes to Him in repentance, even those who get stuck in Churchianity, like the Pharisee.
Bottom line: God is concerned with the heart of a person. So next time you go to God in prayer, ask yourself, am I humble or proud? Either way, it’s a chance to get right with Him.
4 Things We Should Include In Our Prayers…
1. A Clear Conscience
Ask forgiveness. Ask God’s forgiveness for the mistakes that you make. Keep your heart open and remember that we all make mistakes: nobody is perfect.
Though you may have trouble admitting it or thinking of a mistake you have made, I’m sure you can find some way that you can be better. Be sincere and you will know in your heart if God forgives you.
David knew that if he regarded sin in his heart, God would not hear him (Psalm 66:18), so we must come to God in prayer with a clean conscience (James 5:16). We cannot hide what He already knows.
David asked, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”
2. God’s Will and Word
Ask for guidance. Ask God’s guidance. He isn’t a genie or some magical granter of wishes. He is merely there to guide you on the path you are meant to follow.
Ask him to lead you and show you the right decisions and the ways to better yourself as a person, as well as the world and people around you.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells them to include the Father’s will being done on earth as it is already being done in heaven (Matt. 6:10).
We can pray for His will to be done here and to make our will what His will is, and what God’s Word says, we will say.
3. Praise and Thanksgiving
Understand that these blessings are God showing his love for his people and should be celebrated and appreciated.
God was believed to inhabit the praises of His people Israel (Psalm 22:3), so why would He not also inhabit ours?
If we are praising God, we are giving Him what He is due. If we are thanking God, we are giving Him what He is due.
No wonder the psalmist writes “let them praise your great and awesome name– he is holy” (Psalm 99:3).
4. Great Humility
Pray for others. Pray for those who you feel need prayers. You can pray for your family, for your friends, or for strangers.
Ask God to show them His love and to also help them find their way when they are lost. Do not cast judgement on them or their problems: God is the only Judge and He will do what is right.
God resists the proud of heart and will only extend His grace to the humble (James 4:6).
“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.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14, New Living Translation)
The parable’s lesson is found in what these two men do in response to God’s presence.
The proud church leader attempts to validate his own “righteousness” in his prayer. He judges his neighbor all while spouting his good deeds, as if that’s going to guarantee him some Brownie points with God.
The tax collector approaches his prayer in humility. With no self-righteous bone in his body, he asks God to show him mercy.
Prayer doesn’t have to be hard work. Just remember to have a clear conscience, seek for God’s glory, make your will the same as God’s, praise Him and thank Him on a daily basis, and come humbly before the throne room of heaven.
Ensure that your prayer is complete by remembering ACTS — not the book of the Bible, but the acronym. The ACTS method of prayer goes like this:
Adoration: Give God praise and honor for who he is as Lord over all.
Confession: Honestly deal with the sin in your prayer life.
Thanksgiving: Verbalize what you’re grateful for in your life and in the world around you.
Supplication: Pray for the needs of others and yourself.