We are still on prayer this week with Jesus telling the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. It has me wondering, what it is that you tell God? I mean, everything you say to God is something he already knows.
Or is it?
I have to wonder if God hears the word coming from the lips of the Pharisee and thinks, "Well isn't that interesting? I didn't know you were so good." I think a good rule of thumb is: If your prayer will surprise God, then you should probably skip it.
On the other hand, the Tax Collector says what everyone, including God, already knows, "I need mercy, I am a sinner." It is the great universal prayer. The prayer every person who has ever lived can pray. In the East, it is the beginning of prayer without ceasing. The Jesus Prayer, as it has come to be known, is so simple and yet, quite possibly, the only prayer you'll ever need to say, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Get that right and the rest will take care of itself.