Luke 18:11

B. Ward Powers bwpowers at
Sat Sep 8 17:09:58 EDT 2001

B-greekers all:

I have been following with interest the lively discussion about




depending upon which text you accept.

There seems to be something of a consensus that PROS hEAUTOUS (whatever it 
actually means) is something the Pharisee did because he actually intended to.

I am one of those who take the other view. The Pharisee never intended to 
PROS hEAUTOUS at all. He intended to pray to Heaven. To God. Most 
definitely. He was not reciting all those good things about himself just 
for his own benefit. He wanted God to be well and truly reminded of them. 
He expected God to be listening. And approving.

But in this story, in this verse, Jesus is telling us what REALLY happened. 
Giving us a "behind the scenes" view of things. The fact is, that sort of 
selfish, self-centred prayer never got to God. (And still never does.) It 
was quite contrary to the bloke's intentions, but the Pharisee was actually 
only talking to himself, and not to God at all, for reasons as set out in 
Isaiah 59:2.

Now, he may have been praying out loud, or whispering under his breath, or 
internalizing his prayer, but (whereas the tax collector's prayer made it 
straight through to God), this Pharisee's prayer did not even get to the 
temple roof. His "prayer" was only for his own ego gratification, and 
whatever his intentions may or may not have been, it was (as Jesus tells 
us) only PROS hEAUTON.

Really sad, I reckon, when you think about it.

And I am left wondering how often (without my knowing it) this word of 
Jesus might apply to my prayers also.

And any of yours?


Rev Dr B. Ward Powers        Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
259A Trafalgar Street          Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
PETERSHAM  NSW  2049      email: bwpowers at
AUSTRALIA.                         Director, Tyndale College

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