“…forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation…” Matthew 6:12-13
Jesus moves from the topic of seeking provision and forgiveness—and our offering forgiveness to others—to the need for guidance and protection from temptation.
Lead Us Away From Temptation
I remember a thought that invaded my mind one day: I’m going to have to practice what I’ve preached! I have shared with young men to “…flee youthful lusts.” I’ve preached and touted this admonition from the comfort of my own marriage. How convenient. The proverbial shoe is on the other foot now. The admonition to avoid temptation and to flee lust remains valid. Even more so.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38
We are to be on high alert—always. Watch and pray. Resist temptation. Recognize that your flesh is weak and vulnerable. No matter how willing the spirit may be, the flesh is weak.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
We can stand against temptation. Again, we may not be faithful, but he is faithful. No matter the temptation, we can find the way of escape. I need a guide to walk me through the unknowns in my time of need. I need his hand to guide me. I need his eye to guide me. I need him, and his prayer, as a balm and a guide to keep me from temptation.
“And lead us not into temptation…” Matthew 6:13
Deliver Us From Evil
Worse than simple temptation, we have an enemy who seeks to devour us. Like a lion. We must pray to be delivered from evil and the deceiver of our souls. Our adversary is after us. We must be sober-minded and watchful.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.” Psalms 17:12
Put all of this back in the context of The Lord’s Prayer. We have worshipped our Father in heaven. We’ve agreed with him that we desire his kingdom and his will. We ask him to give to us according to our daily needs. We ask for forgiveness as forgivers. We ask him not to lead us toward temptation. And finally, we need him to fight on our behalf.
“…but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13
The Lord’s Prayer has been a blessing to prop me up in prayer. Early on, I was paralyzed in so many ways. I couldn’t put a sentence together in prayer. I moaned or groaned out some of my prayers. Of course, after the initial shock and numbness abated, I was able to pray. But this prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, became a counselor, a friend, a companion on an unwanted journey as I faced my loss. The Lord’s Prayer acted as a balm and a guide in my time of need.
This prayer is proof that God is not seeking wordiness. He is seeking rhythms of relationship. He is to be worshipped. He deserves our submission and trust in his kingdom and will. He is to be trusted for provision. He forgives if we ask and if we are forgiving. And he protects us.
He hears. He accepts. O how I have loved The Lord’s Prayer as I have faced loss on my unwanted journey. This prayer discipline has provided hope as I have mourned.
“The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9