Authentic prayer should make us better, not bitter. It should lead us to a deeper level of love for God and neighbour, not puffed up pride in front of God nor the condemnation of the other. These attitudes in prayer are addressed in today’s parable (Lk. 18:9-14). The Pharisee was so caught up in himself and his own self-righteousness, that he not only saw it fit to look down on the tax collector, but also elevated himself to such a height, that he now “prayed to himself” (Lk. 18:11). On the other hand, the tax collector was so conscious of his own state of unworthiness, that “he did not even raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast and prayed” (Lk. 18:13). His prayer did not focus on the sins of anyone else but himself. He was neither praising himself nor judging or putting down another. His singular purpose in prayer was to be conscious of God’s merciful presence and his own sins. “He went home justified” (Lk. 18:14). How do we approach God in prayer? Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner. As You pardon my sins, may my gratitude be evidenced by my forgiving others and myself. Amen.