August 28, 2023

Humility in Prayer

Written by Boyd Bailey

Humility waits on the Holy Spirit for promotion and is at peace, not having to self-promote.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 28, 2023

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:10-14, ESV

Genuine prayers are expressed with a humble heart filled with the Holy Spirit. Prayer without humility is not authentic prayer…just human expression into thin air. Avoid egocentric prayers like the proud heart of the religious man Jesus describes in Luke 18, who publicly prays a smug prayer of moral superiority over an inferior tax collector. His prayer is full of pride, pretense, and condemnation. No love, only longing to feel good about himself…so he prayed to himself…the wrong audience of one! In contrast, the humble tax collector stood in the back, unworthy to approach the sacred, and confessed his need for God’s generous mercy with a contrite heart. Humility with the Holy Spirit is a low position of repentant prayer and dependence on the Lord.

A heart full of pride and conceit has no room for humility and is unable to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Its capacity to love Christ and others is zero, yet humility has 100% capacity for good, and one good outcome is not having the need to compare oneself to another. Playing the comparison card is a copout to needing Christ and others.  Comparison says I can save myself because I am better than most while humility insists on being right with the Lord, which begins by being justified by God, not by my good deeds. It’s my humble and contrite heart that God accepts. Once accepted and justified by God, humility is able to accept others and help them to Jesus. Humility waits on the Holy Spirit for promotion and is at peace, not having to self-promote.

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness(Acts 4:31).

Another fruit of a humble heart filled with the Holy Spirit is the boldness to speak God’s word. Not shy to speak Scripture out loud since we know from Paul’s epistle to the Romans (10:17) that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. Shyness to share may have been your state of mind before you renewed your mind through the truth of Christ, but now that you have discovered the cure for sin, sorrow, and death, you must not keep quiet about the love of God. Humility has a way of saying hard things with a smile that draws others in to know more. 

Most importantly, humility and the fullness of the Holy Spirit position you to have intimate fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit. Andrew Murray describes how the early disciples grew from just being good Christians to being intimate friends with Jesus, They did love Him intensely. They had seen Him crucified, but their hearts could not be separated from Him. They had no hope or joy or comfort on earth without Him, and friends, this is what is so often lacking in our Christianity. We trust Jesus and His work on Calvary; we trust Him as our only Savior. That is well and may be sufficient to bring salvation, but many do not realize that true Christianity consists in an intense, close, personal attachment to Jesus and fellowship with Him every day. Many think of Jesus as their Savior, yet never realize that Jesus ought to be their friend and guide and keeper all day long, their leader and master whom they gladly obey. Many Christians might talk about Him, yet not know what it means to walk with Him.”


Heavenly Father, grow my humble heart through the power of your Holy Spirit and through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, Amen.


To whom is the Lord calling you to speak boldly the word of Christ in love?

Related Reading

Psalm 139:23; Matthew 11:29; Acts 2:4; Ephesians 3:20, 5:18

Worship Resource

Kari Jobe: The Heart of Worship


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