Big idea

God is always ready and willing to answer humble pray-ers, not proud pray-ers.

Bible passage   

Luke 18: 9-14

You will need
2 visibly dirty shirts
1 clean shirt/jacket

All Ages Activity

Ask two members of the group to each put on one of the dirty shirts.

Can you see that both are wearing dirty shirts?

Now give the clean shirt or jacket to one person wearing a dirty shirt and have them put it on over the top of the dirty shirt to cover it up. Now this person looks like they are clean while the other still looks dirty. Is this true or are both still dirty?

Ask the person in the clean shirt to pretend to think they are perfect and say a proud prayer thanking God for this – similar to the Pharisee’s prayer. Ask the person in the dirty shirt to say a humble prayer admitting their sin – similar to the tax collector’s.


We just used dirty shirts to represent our sin and how some people might think that if they cover up their sin to others, they can pretend to be perfect and without sin. This is how the Pharisee acted in the parable Jesus told – by praying very proudly about how good he was. However, the tax collector in the parable acted and prayed in a humble way by admitting his sin and asking for God’s forgiveness.

Jesus wants us to pray humbly like the tax collector. Pretending that we’re perfect doesn’t work with God. No matter how much we try to cover up our sin, God can see all of it.

Prayer idea

Dear Lord,

Help me to stop trying to cover up my sin and instead help me to pray to you humbly asking for forgiveness. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

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