Around the circle the 6th-grade girls went, taking turns praying for each other in the Bible study group. "Father in heaven," Anna prayed, "please help Toya not to be so boy-crazy." Tonya added with a giggle, "And help Anna to stop acting horrible in school and bothering other kids." Then Talia prayed, "Lord, help Tonya to listen to her mother instead of always talking back."
Although the requests were real, the girls seem to enjoy teasing their friends by pointing out the flaws in front of others instead of caring about their needs for God's help. Their group leader reminded them about the seriousness of talking to Almighty God and the importance of evaluating their own hearts.
If we use prayer to point out the faults of others while ignoringour own, we are like the Pharisee in Jesus's parable. He prayed, "God I thank You that I am not like other men,extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector" Instead, we are to be like the man who asked God to be merciful to him, "a Sinner".
Let's be careful to not let our prayers become the listing of other's flaws. The kind of prayer God desires flows out of a humble evalutaion of our own sinful hearts.