Prayer doesn’t begin, or end, with any person or our performance. Prayer is powerful, meaningful, and effective because God our Father promises it.

Notes And Next Steps

Luke 18:9-14  + Part 1 of the series “Dear God..."

In Jesus’ day, being called a Pharisee was a badge of honor.  

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable. (Luke 18:9)

“The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’” (Luke 18:11) 

“God, I don’t need anything from you.”

Prayer is a declaration of dependence on God.

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:13) 

“God, I need everything from you.”

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)


  1. Let’s list 5 ways we learned self-reliance and independence as children. 
  2. Look carefully at the prayers of these two men in Luke 18:11-13. Identify 5 differences between them.
  3. Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Pick a favorite verse from this section that you will write down and use to improve your prayer life this week.
  4. “In the presence of the Great Physician, my greatest contribution may simply be my wounds” (Philip Yancey, Does Prayer Make a Difference? p. 36). How does this change the way you pray—in its sequence, in what you pray for, or even in God’s answers you see or don’t see?
  5. Prayer is one of the best bridges to connect those outside the church or the faith to Jesus. Put yourself in their shoes. What makes it attractive from their perspective?