This is the familiar parable of the Pharisee and Publican. The Pharisee’s prayer was basically him praising himself: he thanks God that he does not sin like others and then lists all the good things he does. The Publican’s prayer was simply “God be merciful to me, a sinner”.
According to the parable the man living the most outwardly obedient life (The Pharisee) was rejected and the one who admitted sin (The Publican) went home justified.
Does this encourage sin or suggest that sin is not serious? Why was the Publican justified? What could the Pharisee have prayed to be more acceptable to God?
Think about your prayers today. Did they most resemble the Pharisee or the Publican?