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The Prayer that Justifies

A prayer for mercy

There are messages today for two kinds of people:

  • For those who are humble - God's mercy is for you and God will justify you.
  • For those who are prideful-  Do not trust your own righteousness and look on others with contempt.


YouTube Version of the same message:

The Jesus Prayer Chanted

All The Scriptures for Today Read with Comment on II Timothy 4

The Prophetic Word Spoken Through Joel

Joel 2:23-32
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

O children of Zion, be glad,
and rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army that I sent against you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel
and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Then afterward
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days I will pour out my spirit.

I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.

Psalm 65
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

To the leader. A Psalm of David. A Song.
Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed,
O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow;
the hills gird themselves with joy;
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks;
the valleys deck themselves with grain;
they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 84:1-7
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise. Selah

Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

Jeremiah 14:7-10
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Although our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
our rebellions indeed are many,
and we have sinned against you.
O hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler turning aside for the night?
Why should you be like someone confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not forsake us!

Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
Truly they have loved to wander;
they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them;
now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.

Jeremiah 14:19-22
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Have you completely rejected Judah?
Does your heart loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us?
We look for peace but find no good,
for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
the iniquity of our ancestors,
for we have sinned against you.
Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.
Can any idols of the nations bring rain,
or can the heavens give showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God?
We set our hope on you,
for it is you who do all this.

2 Timothy 4:6-8
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:16-18
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.





Luke 18:9-14 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other, for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The Prayer of the Humble Soul

Two men went to the house of prayer to do their religious duty.

For one, it was an exercise in religious pride.

He had no sense of shame. He had no regrets. He had no humility before God and no humility before humanity. He considered himself the poster child for religious piety. He fancied himself a role model for righteousness and a prime example of what it meant to be a favorite of God.

He was a prideful bigot.

The other man was a sinner. Everyone knew he was a sinner, and he knew he was a sinner.

He could not even look up. His shame was so great. His regrets were profound. His sin weighed heavily on his heart. He entertained no pretense of righteousness. His piety was in the deficit column. He was disgraced and disheartened. He prayed with no illusion of worthiness.

He sought only mercy.

God, be merciful to me.

I am a sinner.

That is all he could pray. That is all he prayed.

God heard both prayers and God heard both men. God heard both hearts. God justified only one.

Which one? Who comes away justified when people pray in these two ways, one prideful and one humble?

Jesus calls out the honest prayer. It is the humble prayer. It is the cry for mercy.

If you exalt yourself, you will end up embarrassed before God. If you humble yourself, you will come under the Sovereign’s merciful grace.

Once God lifts you, you are truly exalted.

“Nothing in my hand I bring.
Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
-Augustus Toplady, Rock of Ages



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