These final two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer ask for protection from temptation and the Evil One. It is a cry for help to keep us away from things that would damage our integrity:
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” —Matthew 6:13
Don’t miss the power of the plural pronouns here. What Jesus prayed is important but what He didn’t pray is also important. He didn’t pray: “Do not bring Me into temptation, but deliver Me from the evil one.” This kind of individualistic, independent mindset was not part of His prayer. If one person commits sin, the entire group deals with the consequences. Regardless of what we think, our decisions affect others greatly.
Stop for a minute and really think about the gravity of your decisions.
- If you fall into temptation, how would that impact your family?
- If you are not being like Christ, how does that impact your community?
- If you are not walking closely with God, how does that impact your church?
My sin affects us. Your sin affects us. None of us is an island. We are the church, and we are the body of Christ. When the foot suffers, the entire body staggers (1 Cor. 12:26).
When Jesus prayed that God would not bring us into temptation, this statement does not mean that God normally employs such methods. We know that God is not tempted by evil “and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone” (Jas. 1:13). God has also promised that every time we are tempted He provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). Jesus is able to come to our aid since He was tempted just like us yet He never sinned.
Instead of asking God to remove all temptation, our prayer should be more like this: God, keep me on Your righteous path. Sound the alarm when temptation is near. Keep my eyes open and my heart alert. Remind me that I could fall into the very sin that I hate. Cause me to hate and acknowledge any sin that so easily ensnares me. Awaken me to the reality of an Enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour (see 1 Pet. 5:8).
At this point, let’s get specific. Be really honest and consider your answer to this question: If the Evil One wanted to take me out, what strategy would he likely use? What temptation would he employ? In what areas have I been pridefully letting my guard down?
By the way, if you don’t have an answer for this question, you may be in a dangerous blind spot and closer to spiritual ruin than you think. Take this opportunity to pray more defensively so that you will not be taken advantage of by Satan’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11).
If these temptations come in certain environments which you can avoid, talk with God and make a battle plan. Get specific. What temptations do you need help avoiding? What strategies of the Enemy do you need to realize? Pray through these areas and ask God for deliverance from our evil adversary.
Excerpted from Alex and Stephen Kendrick, The Battle Plan for Prayer Bible Study © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.