The Bible passage assigned for this week looks, once again, at prayer.  It is the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector who went into the Temple to pray.  The Pharisee thanked God that he was not like others because he didn’t sin like other people, and, unlike many others, he fasted and gave a tenth of all his earnings to God.  In contrast, the tax collector stood far-off with his eyes down, beat his chest and cried, “O God be merciful to me a sinner.”  Which of these types of prayer did Jesus commend?  The problem with the Pharisee was that he wasn’t really praying.  He simply went to the Temple to tell God how good he was.  Prayer requires at least three things.  Firstly, humility.  You cannot be proud when praying.  Secondly, you cannot despise your fellow men and women when praying.  Finally, prayer is not about us setting ourselves against others but rather setting ourselves on our knees before God.  Although we may think that we are very righteous people, when set against the perfect standard in Jesus, we all fall short (Pharisees, tax collectors and everyone).  For all these reasons, Jesus commended the prayer from the tax collector rather than the Pharisee.