The Pharisee and the Tax Collector's Prayers
This is the parable of two men who went to the temple to pray to God. One of them, a Pharisee, thanked God because he was a righteous man, not given to sinfulness and indeed, fasting twice a week and offering a tithe. The Pharisee began his prayer with gratitude. However, was it really gratitude? Was it not boastfulness of his self righteousness that was hidden behind the facade of gratitude?
The tax collector on the other hand felt so remorseful that he couldn't even look up to heaven. He felt burdened by the magnitude of his sins. He petitioned God for forgiveness.
Jesus reminds us through this parable that God sees our hearts. That he isn't looking for the self righteous Christians, rather that he awaits eagerly the home coming of the repentant sinner.
Lord Jesus, help me, like the tax collector, to come to you with a complete awareness of my failings and short comings, never with pride but with a humble and contrite heart, amen.