18 Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up:
2 In a town there was once a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. 3 In that same town there was a widow who kept going to the judge and saying, “Make sure that I get fair treatment in court.”
4 For a while the judge refused to do anything. Finally, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 I will help this widow because she keeps on bothering me. If I don’t help her, she will wear me out.”
6 The Lord said:
Think about what that crooked judge said. 7 Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? 8 He will surely hurry and help them. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
A Pharisee and a Tax Collector
9 Jesus told a story to some people who thought they were better than others and who looked down on everyone else:
10 Two men went into the temple to pray.[a] One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.[b]11 The Pharisee stood over by himself and prayed,[c] “God, I thank you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. And I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12 I go without eating[d] for two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all I earn.”
13 The tax collector stood off at a distance and did not think he was good enough even to look up toward heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he pounded his chest and prayed, “God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner.”
14 Then Jesus said, “When the two men went home, it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
15 Some people brought their little children for Jesus to bless. But when his disciples saw them doing this, they told the people to stop bothering him. 16 So Jesus called the children over to him and said, “Let the children come to me! Don’t try to stop them. People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.[e]17 You will never get into God’s kingdom unless you enter it like a child!”
18.10into the temple to pray: Jewish people usually prayed there early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
(A psalm by the people of Korah for the music leader.)
A Prayer for Peace
85 Our Lord, you have blessed your land and made all go well for Jacob’s descendants. 2 You have forgiven the sin and taken away the guilt of your people. 3 Your fierce anger is no longer aimed at us.
4 Our Lord and our God, you save us! Please bring us back home and don’t be angry. 5 Will you always be angry with us and our families? 6 Won’t you give us fresh life and let your people be glad because of you? 7 Show us your love and save us!
8 I will listen to you, Lord God, because you promise peace to those who are faithful and no longer foolish. 9 You are ready to rescue everyone who worships you, so that you will live with us in all of your glory.
10 Love and loyalty will come together; goodness and peace will unite. 11 Loyalty will sprout from the ground; justice will look down from the sky above.
12 Our Lord, you will bless us; our land will produce wonderful crops. 13 Justice will march in front, making a path for you to follow.
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