We all struggle with the temptation of trying to please other people rather than pleasing God. We must all guard against praying so others will be impressed with what we say. Prayer should always be directed to God alone.
The tax collector represents another reason you might be here today. To seek God.
The tax collector showed up because he was in trouble and he believed God could help him. His body language revealed his sense of unworthiness; he couldn’t walk to the front of the crowd, instead he kept his distance. He didn’t focus on the other people there, he focused on God.
Worship does involve an audience. But it’s an audience of one. When we come to church, we should be primarily concerned about seeking God’s face. You may receive the applause of man, but you should be deaf to it. You should be listening only for the applause of the nail-scarred hands.
Why are you here today? Is it just your habit, a part of your weekend routine? Perhaps you came because your parents or your spouse pressured you to come. Or maybe you feel guilty if you don’t come. Or did you come seeking to connect with the Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe?