The condemned Pharisee prayed a lot longer than the Publican ...
... in public.
You don't know who really prayed longer before God. For all you know, the Publican prayed a lot longer than the Pharisee, but he did it in private. In fact, I'd even say that is likely. But only God knows.
they went both to the Temple to pray, privacy was not the issue here. as to the longer prayer , indeed we can see that the pharisee prayed longer listing all his virtues, and with a selfrighteous spirit comparing himself with the publican he saw with contempt. but the publican's prayer was short and we are told By The LORD what they each prayed , so yes God has told us what they have said when they prayed. you can see which was longer. the Publican presented himself before God with humility, the other stood up with pride before God and declared his righteousness. the lesson of the story was not about praying in public, we are only told the prideful positioning of themselves in relative to the inside of the Temple and each other. they were not declaring their prayer to the public, but to God and the One who heard judged them according to the humility of their heart.
We don't know who prayed longer *during the entire day*. We don't know who spent more time in prayer during the day. That's my point. Of the Pharisees, Christ said "they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
The publican's *public* prayer was short. However, if he was obedient to God then his public prayers were not his only prayers that day.
I agree with you though that humility is the point of the story. The fact remains, though, that only God knows who really prayed longer before God *that day*. For all you know, the Publican prayed a lot longer than the Pharisee, but he did it later, in private. In fact, I'd even say that is likely given that he was justified, and private prayers are characteristics of the godly.
But only God knows.
we were referring to the particular parable, the length of the prayer as well as the essence of the said prayer.
and the point I am not comfortable with is, the subtle assumption that the event of that day could have been based on previous events such as their previous prayers. suppose that the publican came and prayed just that day? like the robber on the cross. look at the abundant grace given to a single utterance of a heartfelt humble prayer... we must not lose sight of that, and assume that there must have been a prior long or short consistent prayer etc. so why assume it? why not stick to the parable itself? it is simply possible to say that based on that day's prayer alone and how they prayed it, they were both judged, and that would hold profound lesson in it. in any case it is easy to lose or gain with what comes out of the fullness of ones heart, at any time in ones life.
I'm not comfortable with the assumption that there were no more prayers by the publican in private, and neither am I comfortable with the assumption that there were more prayers later. That's why I said, "Only God knows."
I guessed about the rest of their day because the topic of this thread has to do with the amount of time in spiritual practice (prayer especially) people are spending "daily" (each day). So I'm thinking in terms of days. Yes, the parable covers only a short period of time in public at the temple. However, it took place in the context of a an entire day. Just because the rest of the day was not written about does not mean it is not important. The point of the parable had to do with the humble spirit of proper prayer. The point was not "you must keep your prayers short and only pray for 15 seconds each day." Rather, the righteous will "rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will..." The point of the parable was to show the proper humble spirit our continual prayers should have.
Therefore, in the context of this thread, I think it is important to remember that the prayers recorded in that parable very well may not have been the only prayers those men said that day if one of them was truly living a justified life before God, in God's will.
Again, I'm not assuming there were more prayers nor am I assuming there weren't more prayers later in the day. I'm simply noting the fact that, according to Christ, the hypocritical Pharisees liked to pray long prayers in public, and that was their only reward. So we should not be surprised that the public prayer of the Pharisee was longer than the justified tax collector's public prayer. But according to the Scriptures the righteous pray in secret also, and continually, not only in public.
Yes, the justified tax collector's short, public prayer may have been the only prayers he said that day, but it also may not have been. We have no idea from that parable alone. However, judging from what Christ and the rest of Scripture says about the prayer habits of the righteous, the tax collector very well may have prayed more later, in private.
Again, only God knows for sure.
Prayer has lots of components to it. One of them is Time. That time could be a set time and or at any time. However Time spent on prayer alone that is the longness or the shortness of it has no meaning without the other elements of Prayer.
Those who approach in faith must approach with humility as well.
I agree with you we are commanded to pray without being discouraged, to be persistent in prayer. The Christian then persists in prayer. However the time alone is not the focus here, what gives the time meaning is the humility, the hope, the faith, the love etc...of the person doing the prayer as he or she communes with God.
My point of disagreement is that you seem to think that justification depends on getting in many hours of prayer. You keep implying the length of time in practicing prayer, a condition for the justification of men, the accumulation of many hours of prayer. When you say only God knows, you say it to support what seems to me ( and I am willing to be corrected if I misunderstood you, but I feel that is the entire motive of the original question in this thread itself) the premise of a logic that seems to say ‘ just men pray many times’ , the publican was justified , therefore he might/must have prayed before that in private to earn that justification. Yes God knows what was prayed before or after, however the before or the after were not the condition of the justification of the Publican that day.
Many labor in the field starting from the first hour and receive the same wage as the ones who come at the 11th hour. And those men seem to grumble for the reason that they who have endured the heat of the day deserve more than the ones who came at the last hour. But remember what the Lord has said to them.
The prodigal son gets an enthusiastic reception, while the loyal son who served him day and night watches, his father runs to welcome the returning prodigal son, who returns with great humility intent to serve as a slave in his father’s house. The father embraces him with love , kisses him, puts new rob and ring on his finger, slain the fatted calf, invites the neighbors to rejoice and share with his joy over the return of His son….. the elder son, had a lot to say the time he has put on serving his father, in comparison to the son who left him to peruse his selfish desires. Remember how the father answers him.
The Canaanite woman came to Jesus, pleading for her daughter, and she remains persistent even when what was said to her could have led her to be defeated by her ego and turn back, rather she gets what she was asking because of her humility and her faith.
The centurion, who pleaded for the health of his servant, said with great humility, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority with soldiers under me. I tell this one Go and he goes; and that one, ‘come’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘do this’ and he does it’.. what was Jesus’s reply?
The man who spent a lot of time with Jesus left betraying him with a kiss for money on opportune time. While Mary came into the fold, sold everything and bought Nard to pour on his head and kissed him on his feet with great love and humility.
These are men and women, who are like arrows, who are launched by a master archer, flying swift, light and high, not weigh down by pride and self-righteousness or a sense of entitlement. These are warriors, who defeat the proud enemy with their steadfast humility. These are beings of Love, who love without expecting anything in return, they simply love and live their lives for the sake of the beloved. These are men and women who reject the world, and its proud arrogant, self-righteous hateful ways for the love of Christ. These are sinners who rise up when they fall and keep fighting by the power of Christ. These are Christians.
Now having said that, all of the above goes hand in hand with the Lord’s and His Apostles command of:
Be persistent in prayer, pray without ceasing, have faith, hope, Love, and cloak yourselves with humility.