READ : Luke 18:9-14
This parable on prayer reminds me of a long night three years ago. I had spent seven months living with a malfunctioning aortic valve. I had entered the hospital on Monday; it was now Thursday evening. My third open heart surgery was scheduled for the next morning. I was restless, apprehensive and quite honestly, I was afraid. Could I really survive a third surgery? All week I had prayed earnestly and fervently but for some reason I didn’t get the feeling that God was listening. What was God’s will in all of this?
I took my Bible and began reading Luke 18. I read the parable of the persistent widow that we studied yesterday. It offered no encouragement. I had prayed for days with persistence that would have put the widow to shame. I continued reading.
There was another parable, the parable we are studying today. It too was about prayer, the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. Then it struck me. The prayer that was answered was only seven words long, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” That was it. For the next thirty minutes I repeated that prayer over and over. I fell asleep.
When the nurse woke me the next morning, I was at peace. I went into surgery with these words on my lips. I knew I had prayed a prayer God would answer. I recommend it to you in your long and restless nights. It’s a prayer God will never fail to answer.
God, be merciful to me a sinner. In Jesus’ name. Amen.