Have you ever come to a place of last resort? A last resort is something done only if nothing else works. In the spiritual realm this something done as a last resort is quite often prayer. Unfortunately prayer from this perspective can take on the character of a lucky rabbits foot. Say this prayer and something wonderful will happen to you. Maybe not. Say a prayer and everything will be alright. Maybe not.
Prayer is not just something you do. Ok, I prayed….everything is going to be alright now. No, prayer is communication. The question is, who are you communicating with and on what basis? Jesus said that the Pharisee was communicating with himself. He addressed his prayer to God, but his prayer was based on his own self righteousness. His prayer was not based on a biblical perspective about himself. The Pharisee was trusting in his own righteousness. Thus Jesus’ statement of fact, the Pharisee was communicating with himself. He had become his own god, therefore He must save himself or deny that he needs saving.
The publican had a biblical perspective of himself. His prayer was God be merciful to me a sinner. Jesus said that this man went down to his house justified. The publican was acquitted because he had rejected his own righteousness and had accepted God’s provision for his sin. God’s provision for sinners is the righteousness of His Son.
Since believers possess the righteousness of Christ, [For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified Hebrews 10:14], we may enter boldly into God’s presence to obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need. God is sinless and nothing that is sinful or defiles may enter His presence. Believers may enter however, because we are dressed in the righteousness of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus .
God promised to never leave or forsake His own (Hebrews 13:5). That means His presence is always with His children. We should communicate with Him as easily as we do with whoever else is in the room. Communication with God the Father, based on the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ, is proper prayer.
So should Christians communicate with God (pray) as a last resort? Communicating with God should always be our first resort. Rather than trying to manipulate circumstances to satisfy or justify ourselves, believers should always acknowledge Him first (He is sovereign, in control) and trust His promise to direct us. Even when you do not know where to put your foot down on your next step, acknowledge Him and He will direct you.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:6
…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…