God is very impressed with the simple, honest, down-to-earth prayer of the tax collector, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It is that kind of honest prayer that will bring you close to the heart of God. The truth is it is your honesty and not your goodness that gets you close to God. Once you have admitted how inadequate you are, you become open for the power of God to be released in your life. When you admit that you are not as strong and self-efficient as you would like others to think you are, then you begin to find the strength that you need. God can strengthen your life only after you admit that you are too weak to do it on your own. God can forgive your sin when you confess you have committed sin. It is a life-giving prayer, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” The only person God can’t save is the pride-filled person who refuses to admit that he needs saving. The tax collector prayed an honest prayer, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” He recognized his need and asked for help. He was incomplete and knew it. Jesus taught, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. He who humbles himself will be exalted.” Remember, honesty will get you closer to God than your goodness.
– Dr. Tim Thompson