What’s the best way to get mercy? In Luke 18:10-14, Jesus told a story about two men who went to pray in the temple. The first was a self-righteous Pharisee. The second was a humble tax collector.

Let your mind take you back to the dusty roads on the way to Jerusalem, where Jesus speaks to the religious leaders. A crowd has gathered around Him. I can almost hear Him as He tells the parable:

. . . The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon 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 every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

What’s the best way to get mercy? Just ask for it. When we come to God like we deserve something from Him, He’s not going to answer our prayers. But when we cry out for mercy, God hears and blesses.

When you pray, are you like the Pharisee or the publican? Maybe you’ve been asking God to provide a mate, but you think that by comparing yourself to others, He’ll give you what you feel you deserve. Friend, that’s not the way God works. Ask God for mercy, and you can be sure He’ll give you just what you need at the right time.

Mercy unto you, for even the best have no merit and must receive every blessing and grace in the way of mercy. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder