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A sharing by Helen Chang for this song:

Having repented and turned away from my stubborn and sinful bondage many years ago, I thought of myself as being quite careful in dealing with my specific sins, and if any restitution is called for, I would deal with it also.

Given this attitude in me, I felt that the prayer of the tax collector in Luke 18:13 sounds rather superficial because he was not specific in referring to his sins but was only pleading for God’s mercy on him as a sinner. I held this view until a few years later when I had a dream.

While I very rarely have any dreams in sleep, it happened that this one was so vivid that I could recall the details even years later! In the dream I saw that someone, who was very dear to me, was suffering serious physical pain on my behalf due to a wrong judgement by a third party! I used to think that this person did not endear me to her heart in the past. That was why I felt so ashamed and rotten when I saw this happening in my dream! This confirmed to me that I had misjudged her in my heart, so I cried out for God’s mercy on me, a terrible sinner! This emotion was really strong because she was very dear to me, just that I did not think that I mattered much to her, that is, not until I saw this so vividly in my dream!

My crying out to God for mercy was so literal and earnest that I was choking with tears in my dream, so much so that I was gasping for air as I woke with tears still welling up in my eyes. I fell on my knees and continued to cry out to God for His mercy on me, a sinner! I then realised that this dream had come to me as a wake up call so that I would appreciate the genuine prayer of the tax collector as well as to know that, at times like this, one is totally lost for words to pray except to call on God’s mercy repeatedly. This is a very genuine prayer, an outcry for God’s mercy from a desperately hopeless sinner as this is the only way to come into God’s holy presence!

That is why this prayer, though the shortest of all my prayers, is also one of my most earnest ones! Let us take courage and call on God Yahweh in all circumstances and with a submissive heart ready to be shown its true condition. God has promised that He would always hear this prayer as King David so testified in Psalms 51:17, “… a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

(c) 2021 Christian Disciples Church