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Pharisees, Publicans, and Prayer!

Jesus often spins his stories in such a way that require reflection and thoughtful prayer, especially by those of us who are not students of the first-century Jewish milieu in which he lived and preached. Not this time. In this parable, Jesus has given us two stark caricatures of people at prayer. So at first glance, there is an obvious, and sensible message. But what if we go deeper into the na- ture of what these two represent? First, however, a more basic question: Why do we pray? Oftentimes, it seems that in prayer we are presenting to God what we have arrived at as the solution to our problem or the fulfillment of our need (thereby thoughtfully sparing God the burden of examining the is

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