Luke 18:9-12, 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed ABOUT HIMSELF: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—… (NIV)
A walk measured by performance (how much you pray, in the word, reach others) will suffer discouragement in times of not living up to them. The life of a beliver as Jesus addresses in this parable is not that of MERIT but of MERCY.
The message is an encouragement to shift from self reliance and confidence to total trust in God. You can pray like the Pharisee and still be self confident. Note that the Pharisee did not pray to God, but praised himself. As if he was displaying his resume as a candidate for blessings. He deemed himself more worthy of God’s attention by his accolades.
In comparison to the self righteous, the tax collector feeling unworthy prayed to God in humility and went home justified. It was not the quantity of prayer but quality which made him stand out. He was granted MERCY, Psa 13:5 “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation”. We are saved by hope, purified by it, blessed by it, kept by it, favored by it. We are a life that mercy built.