Warnings Against Empty Religion
Prayer is essential to the Christian life. There are those however who may cry out to God and yet worship themselves.
Hosea says, “They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds” (Hos. 7:14). Again he says, “Though they call to the Most High, none at all exalt Him” (Hos. 11:7).
Then, in Matthew, we read, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8).
When we pray or live therefore, let us pray with our mouth and with our heart and worship the God of heaven.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise 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, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14).