He was sometimes allowed to join the missionary's family for a meal. During Scripture reading at the table one day, the parable of the Pharisee and the publican was read. When listening to the prayer of the Pharisee, the native thought, "This is a good man; it is not a prayer for me." But when the missionary read the publican's prayer, "God, be merciful to me a sinner," inwardly he cried for joy. "This is a prayer for me!" he thought.
He began to pray the publican's prayer day and night, until publican-like, he found peace with God through Jesus Christ. Full of joy, he went to tell everyone that there was forgiveness to be found for sinners as great as he was!
Do prayers need to be long to be true?
An old man, when he was a child of three years old, had learned a prayer from his mother to repeat every night, which he had done until he was seventy-three years of age. He was proud to tell people that he had said his prayers every night, without exception, for seventy years.
At this age, it pleased the Lord to truly convict him of his sin and to lead him to Christ. During his remaining years, he would often say, "I am the man who said his prayers for seventy years, and yet all the time never prayed at all."
What is the difference between "saying our prayers" and "praying our prayers"?
A rich nobleman, a stranger to personal religion, was walking alone one evening through part of his grounds. As he approached a poor working man's hut, he heard a continuous, rather loud voice. Curiosity led him closer to the hut until he could understand the words being spoken.
The man of the house was giving thanks, with great affection, to God for the food, shelter, and clothing He had provided for them.
The nobleman was struck with astonishment and conviction. He thought, "Does this poor man, who barely has enough to eat after much hard work, give thanks to God for His goodness; and I, who have such an abundance, never acknowledge Him?"
It pleased God to use this means to awaken a change in this nobleman. How does prayerful thanksgiving honor God?
And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.