If someone is arrogant and self-indulgent or if their only language is ‘Me-talk’, we say they are ‘full of themselves’. There is no room in their perspective to value another being to the same extent. All of the attention is focused on self-evaluation and self-promotion.

In the matter of prayer, God has encountered many people of whom it can be said, they are ‘full of themselves’.

Luke 18:
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

One man was full of himself and the other was empty.

Now, it is possible to be full of self with self-loathing and self-hatred, but this tax collector was neither. He was in fact, humble—empty enough to recognize his personal failures and the need for God’s mercy to make him right.

If we are to pray effectively, we must learn about emptying. Prayer is a dumping ground for everything that causes us to exalt ourselves. Prayer is not a shrine erected to self-hatred or the place to grovel in how sinful we are. It is humble self-assessment that brings us to the place of praying. Why else would the tax collector come before God but to acknowledge his greatest need of God’s mercy?