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The Lord's Prayer

Sunday: Lead Us Not Into Temptation


Introduction

We are so glad you are joining us for these daily prayer posts. Throughout these weeks we have been listening to the prayers of the Bible and learning from them how to pray. This week we turn our attention to the model prayer Jesus gave His disciples when they asked him, "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1)

Each devotion will take five to seven minutes of your time.

  1. We will look at an insight from those who know something important about prayer.
  2. We will listen to Jesus as He prays "The Lord's Prayer."
  3. We will reflect, asking the same four questions each day that invites us to look and listen with intent.
  4. And we will pray, for it is in praying that we learn to pray. And it is in praying that the Spirit changes our hearts.

May we encourage you to grab a notebook, a journal, something to write on as you do each prayer guide. Yes, it will add a few minutes to the time it takes to do the devotion, and it will also deepen your experience and shape your walk with God for years to come.

Look

So do not be unrealistic in not budgeting for temptation, nor foolhardy enough to court it; but when it comes, do not doubt God’s power to deliver from the evil it brings, and to “keep you from stumbling” (Jude 24) as you pick your way through it. When you are not conscious of temptation, pray “lead us not into temptation,” and when you are conscious of it, pray “deliver us from evil,” and you will live.

J.I. Packer, Praying the Lord’s Prayer

Listen

We have come to perhaps the most confusing, if not troublesome part of the Lord’s prayer. What do we make of this request that God not “lead us into temptation?” Would he ever lead us into temptation??

A bit of explanation is necessary. Forgive the length. It is necessary and worthwhile. I’ll lean once again on J.I. Packer…

The thought that God may lead Christians into temptation, as the first clause assumes, has puzzled and shocked many people. Things grow clearer, however, once we see what temptation means here. “Test” or “trial”—that is, a situation that reveals how far you are able to go right and avoid going wrong—is the idea behind the word. The driving test, which (believe it or not) is designed to enable you to show that you can do everything right, is a “temptation” in this sense.

In God’s program for the spiritual education and growth of Christians, the same applies. God does and must test us regularly, to prove what is in us and to show how far we have come. His purpose in this is wholly constructive, to strengthen us and help us forward.

Why, then, if temptation is beneficial, should we ask to be spared it? For three reasons. First, whenever God tests us for our good, Satan, “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5), tries to exploit the situation for our ruin.

Second, the pressures in times of trial can be so appalling that no sane Christian can do other than shrink from them, just as they shrink from the thought of having cancer…Temptation is no picnic!

Third, knowledge of our own proven weakness, thick-headedness, and all-around vulnerability in spiritual matters, and of the skill with which Satan exploits our strong and weak points alike, mixing frontal assaults on our Christian integrity with tactics of infiltration and ambush, so that while avoiding one hazard we constantly fall victim to another, compels us to cry, in humility and self-distrust, “Lord, if it be possible, please, no temptation! I don’t want to risk damaging myself and dishonoring you by falling!”

Temptation may be our lot, but only a fool will make it his preference; others will heed Paul’s warning to the spiritually reckless: “let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Keep these words in mind as we read the Lord’s prayer this final day of our prayer devotions…

Matthew 6:9-13

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
*For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.

Reflect

  1. Having read the Word, sit silently for a minute and give God’s Word a moment to settle within you.
  2. Re-read the verses slowly and write down some thoughts that resonate with you.
  3. Ask the Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that those thoughts are pointing to. (for example: you may write down, "Evil is something God delivers me from, not something I overcome." The Spirit shows us that evil is real and more powerful than we imagine, and, that Jesus has overcome evil…and still does.
  4. How does a better understanding of this part of the Lord’s prayer shape your praying?

Pray

Throughout the week we'll pray "The Lord's Prayer" together, emphasizing a different line each day.

9Our Father in heaven, 
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

Pause here and bring before the Lord the “testings” that you find yourself in today, ask Him for what you need to endure, and, that He would do what only He can do…deliver you from evil…

*For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.

*Some of the earliest manuscripts do not contain this line.

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