“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” – Jesus, The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:13)
It is a passage that we have seen or heard so many times, but when we think about it we realize that it contains much more truth than we give it credit for at first glance. It is one of those passages in the New Testament that makes it so clear that praying and living are two sides of the same coin. Jesus is giving fundamental teaching about prayer; but, He is also giving us fundamental teaching on how we are to live.
Prayer is so important. Praying strengthens our bond with God. There are times however when prayers seem to end up in limbo. If you feel that way periodically, you’re not alone. Most Christians understand the struggles with praying. But usually the struggles revolve around our perceptions and our expectations when we pray. We feel entitled. We want a response from God and it doesn’t come or it is not the answer we hoped for, it creates uncertainty. So what’s the solution?
The answer is praying with the mindset that God is always working in our life. Praying with complete trust in Him, because He always knows what is best for us. The greatest example of how to pray is Christ. In Matthew (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus answered the disciple’s question on how to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is the blueprint for praying. The final part of the prayer heightens God’s power to lead us away from temptation and protect us from evil. This provides us the strength to live in a wicked world.
Matthew 6:13 puts a prayer on our lips that acknowledges our vulnerability to sin. This verse acknowledges that if left to our own devices, we are prone to become ensnared and—most humiliating of all—to ensnare ourselves? Christ is reminding us that we need to call on God’s help in the face of temptation. But it’s also a plea for God to help us make the wise decisions that keep us out of vulnerable situations and to ask for the wisdom to develop a lifestyle that limits temptations. “Evil” in this verse refers to “the evil one.” The evil one is smarter and stronger than we are. Not smarter and stronger than God, but smarter and stronger than we are.
So, we need to call on God to give us the power to resist temptation and deliver us from the evil one. He wants to destroy our lives, but God wants us to live and live life to the fullest. It just makes sense to trust God and resist temptation and believe God will deliver us from evil.
The evil one exists and is active in this world. Still, we should never give more time to thinking about the reality of evil than we do the reality of God’s victory over that evil. Whenever the trial is too painful, the temptation too irresistible, ask the Lord to lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
- The last half of Matthew 6:13 says, “…but deliver us from the evil one.” Two other passages in Scripture also refer to the evil one. Read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:13-19 and Paul’s request in 2 Thessalonians 3:2-5. How do we resist the evil one?
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:13: does this passage provide hope in the face of temptation?