Nearly every town of any size has one; First Baptist Church of AnyTown USA. And some of these churches have prayer chapels that are open during the day, inviting all who feel the need to come and pray.
Into one of these prayer chapels one day came two people, a deacon and a prostitute. The deacon was a successful business man and pillar of the church who was traveling on business from a distant city. And the prostitute, at the opposite end of the social spectrum, was just finishing up after a long and degrading night.
The deacon knelt at the altar and prayed to God, as was his custom when traveling. “God, I am so thankful that I am one of your chosen, a pillar in the church and community, faithful to my wife, supporting world missions efforts, opposed to any efforts to further secularize our society. I thank you that I am not like so many other people: politicians, lawyers, drug dealers, abortion doctors, or involved in the sex trade, like that woman over there.
But the prostitute fell on her face in a back corner and softly cried out. “Oh God, please forgive me. I have made such a mess of my life and have no future or hope. Please have mercy on me and help me to find a way out of this life.
Who Did God Hear?
It is this woman who left the chapel that day justified, with God’s hand on her life. The man left, filled with pride and self-justified, but without even being heard by God. For only those who who will humble themselves before God will be heard and lifted up by him. Those who exalt themselves before God will be ignored. Are you most like the self-righteous deacon, or the repentant prostitute?