Sunday, November 27, 2011

The prayer of the tax collector

We have many famous prayers in the Bible.  The Lord's Prayer or as some of observed the Disciples Prayer.  The Prayer of Jabez has become popular in our time.  We recite Psalm 23 as a prayer often times.  However, I have not heard many comments, sermon's, or books on the Tax Collector's prayer.  It can be found in the Gospel of Luke chapter 18 verse 13.  He says, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"  This tax collector was probably looked at as a turn coat, someone who was Jewish but who worked for the Roman government, and therefore was seen as a traitor to his own people.  He probably had great doubts about his work.  His own conscience likely bothered him, especially if he collected more than was required by Roman law.  He was unlikely to have many friends.  So he was rejected by man and only had up as a way to go.  Notice, he starts his prayer addressing the only one who can help with the mess of his life, "God".   He asks for one thing from God and that is mercy.  In other words, he asks God to stay His rightful judgement on his life.  In the end we see what the tax collector sees himself as and that is a sinner.  I think this prayer is a model to the unbelieving world.  This is the way we should begin our relationship with our Creator.  The man had great humility as he stood afar off and would not raise his eyes to heaven.  I think this is a picture of having things in the right order.  Our view of God must be high, holy, and just and our view of ourselves must be low, common, and criminal.  I hope many express a prayer like this one as a way out and as a way to draw near to the Lord.

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