Two Parables Upon Prayer
( Originally Published 1915 )
JESUS TOLD his disciples a parable to show that they should always keep on praying and never be discouraged. This parable is named "The Parable of the Unjust Judge."
"In a certain city," he said, "there was a judge who in his rule did not try to do right, but was often unjust and wicked; for he had no fear of God and no care for what men said about him. And in that city there was a widow who came many times to this judge, crying over and over again, `Do for me what is right against the man who has done me wrong!'
"For some time the judge paid no attention to her, for right and wrong were both the same to him. But after a while the judge said to himself :
" `Although I have no fear of God and no care for man, yet as this widow is so troublesome to me, and gives me no rest, I will do what she asks, for I am tired of her coming and of her calling out for her right every day.'
"Listen," said the Lord Jesus, "to what this unjust judge says. And if a man who does not care for right or wrong will at last answer a prayer, how much more will your heavenly Father listen to his own children when they call upon him day and night, even though he seems to make them wait long for the answer to their prayers? I tell you that God will do right by them and answer their prayers, and that very soon ! Yet when the Son of Man comes, will he find on earth those who are looking for him and who believe in him?"
Jesus also told a parable to some people who were sure of their own goodness and looked down upon others. This parable is that of "The Pharisee and the Tax-Gatherer."
"Two men," said Jesus, "went up to the Temple to pray. One of these men was a Pharisee; and the other was a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood up and began praying to himself, n o t to God, in words like these :
" `O God, I thank thee that I am not like other men—thieves, wrongdoers, a n d wicked—or even like this tax-gatherer. Twice in every week I eat no food, to show that I am worshipping God; I give to God's house one-tenth of all that I get.'
"But the tax-gatherer stood far away, and would not raise his eyes toward heaven. He beat his breast, saying:
" '0 God, have mercy on me and forgive my sins!'
"I tell you," said Jesus, "this tax-gatherer went. to his house with his sins forgiven, instead of the Pharisee. For every one who uplifts himself will be brought low; and every one who humbles himself will be lifted up."