And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. – Luke 18:13–14
Prayer is a means by which Christians commune with God. Only if wewith heart and with honesty can we gain His guidance and establish a normal relationship with Him.
From the prayer of this tax collector we can see that, though he only prayed with one sentence, he was called righteous by God because he prayed from his heart. In fact, prayer doesn’t depend on how long we pray or how pretty sounding our words are, but depends on whether we can pray honestly. Praying with insincerity is unacceptable to God. I remembered God’s words, “When praying, you must have a heart that is quiet before God, and you must have a sincere heart. You are truly communing and praying with God—you must not deceive God using nice-sounding words. Prayer should center upon that which God wishes to accomplish right now. Ask God to grant you greater enlightenment and illumination, bring your actual states and your troubles into His presence when you pray, including the resolution that you made before God. Prayer is not about following procedure; it is about seeking God with a sincere heart. Ask that God protect your heart, so that your heart may often be quiet before Him; that in the environment in which He has placed you, you would know yourself, despise yourself, and forsake yourself, thus allowing you to have a properand truly become someone who loves God” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”). God’s words tell us how to pray. We should first be quiet before God and tell Him what is in our hearts rather than deceive Him with nice-sounding words, falsehoods or empty words. Prayer is centered around the things we meet or actual difficulties in our lives. Prayer is not the following of procedure, but the seeking of the truth and the ways of practice using our true hearts. Thus, we can gain the Holy Spirit’s work and have a deeper understanding of ourselves, and better understand God’s intention in saving man. If we practice and enter according to God’s requirements, God will guide us to go forward every step of the way.
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