40-Day Prayer Challenge // Day 33
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee … was praying this to himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people’… But the tax collector … was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified” (Luke 18:10-14).
You are not justified by the eloquence of your public prayer, but by the genuineness of your repentant heart. Prayer is not the means by which you convince God that you merit forgiveness. It is the mirror He offers to allow you to see what He sees.
Put another way: Prayer is the key and Jesus is the door. Trust must be placed in Jesus to unlock the only way to God. The prayerless are keyless and clueless. Don’t be one of them.
Being justified means to be declared right by God. His declaration makes you right in His eyes – not because of who you are, but because of who Jesus is, your Savior. Your Savior has removed your sin from God’s presence. Another easy way to remember what this looks like: To be justified = “Just if I’d never sinned.”
You do the praying, and God will do the justifying. When it comes to being made right with God, lay down your burden of sin and allow Jesus to do the heavy lifting. Show some humility.
When prayer becomes prideful posing, it loses the power to change your life and the lives of others around you. Prayer is not a photo-op for a “celebrity selfie” with God. The prideful are prayerless. The humble are prayerful. Don’t pretend to know God better than you really do. He knows better (and everyone else does, too).
Being made right with God is not the result of pious words said to yourself. It comes from humbling your heart before God, admitting to Him what He already knows about you, and receiving forgiveness for it. When you pray, be honest with God.
Easter Challenge: There are seven more days before Easter Sunday. Prepare your heart for a celebration of the finished work of Christ on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. If you keep repeating the same confession, you may not have claimed God’s forgiveness. What God forgives, He chooses to no longer hold against you. Stop holding it against yourself. When you mention it to Him, listen carefully. You may hear Him say, “What are you talking about?” Ask God to give you a fresh new appreciation for being justified by what Jesus Christ has done for you.
Prayer for the Day: Father, thank you for declaring me to be right with You, through Your Son, and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Let His Spirit empower me to lead my ONE to know you, and to be my guest at our services this Easter. AMEN.
For a successful season of prayer, the best beginning is confession. —Charles Haddon Spurgeon