Thus far, The Lord’s Prayer has reminded us of: 1. Our familial relationship with God; 2. God’s greatness; 3. The vitally important purpose He has given our life; 4. That we can bring our needs to God; and 5. The strength and freedom of forgiveness. And now, Jesus instructs us to pray:
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”Matthew 6:13
What does this mean??? Does GOD lead us into situations where we are tempted? According to the Bible, the answer is “No.” As we learned in an earlier devotional, God is completely Holy and cannot sin. So it would violate His nature to tempt us to sin. However, when God became incarnate in order to be our sacrifice, He WAS subject to all the same temptations of the flesh that we have. Thus, He completely understands our temptation.
Who better to empathize with us in our temptation than someone who has already been through it?
“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”Hebrews 2:17-18
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”James 1:13-14
Our enemies—the devil, the flesh, and the world system, lurk in every dark corner— plotting our demise. This part of the prayer keeps us fully aware that we are virtually powerless to overcome the enemy—without God. The Bible says:
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”I Corinthians 10:12-13
We need to have a keen awareness of our vulnerability so we can call on God’s strength. You won’t ask for help unless you really think you need it—right?
So let us pray….
“I am born of You, dear Father; and I have overcome my enemies because—greater are YOU within me, than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4) Father, help me remember that no matter what happens today—You can handle it. Help me to remember who I am, Who I belong to, and Who lives inside of me. Remind me that the warfare is not against fellow humans but against the dark spiritual forces which seek to destroy the human race.
Oh Lord, keep my eyes upon You!
“May I not give the devil even one moment in my mind.” (Ephesians 4:27) Lord, You know my weaknesses. You know the areas I am tempted most. You know the roaring appetite of my flesh for [fill in here—your most difficult sin-addictions; that is, anything you know does not reflect the righteousness of God]. Lord please take this desire from me. Help me to hate it. Help me love You—more than I love my sin.
Father, I desire to love You with all my heart, mind, and strength.
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies.” (Psalms 141:3-4) Oh my Father, You know my tongue is the most unruly part of my body. Please tame it! Make your Holy Spirit so powerful in my life that I can feel the grief of Your heart when unkind thoughts begin to form and—BEFORE I say them. Help me learn to delight in Your Word as light so the works of darkness hold no delight for me.
My Father, guard my heart with Your Almighty hand!
And so we come to the end of the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus gave it. Obviously, I would encourage you to find verses under each category that are meaningful to each of you and use them to freestyle prayer flow! Matthew Henry’s book, “A Method for Prayer,” is an excellent resource. Prayer is a powerful tool and it is worth learning to use. It’s like learning to use a bulldozer to move a mountain instead of sticking with a shovel.
Prayer is truly amazing.
Tomorrow we will briefly discuss the doxology, which is only in the book of Matthew: “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)
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