The Lord’s Prayer: A Practical Guide, Part 5

Praying Through the Bible #127

TEXT: Matthew 6:9-13

We are continuing our in-depth look at the six parts of what is called the Lord’s prayer. As a reminder, those six essential parts are as follows:

1. We praise and recognize God.
2. We put God’s will before ours.
3. We ask for our daily needs.
4. We confess our sins and ask for forgiveness of sin.
5. We ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil.
6. We praise and recognize God’s glory once again.

We have already looked at the first four building blocks of this prayer — “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name”, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” “Give us this day our daily bread…,” and “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Today, we are going to look at the fifth building block in which Jesus Christ teaches us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

This is a very practical prayer for our everyday lives. Every day we are faced with the temptation to do wrong. Every day, opportunities present themselves before us where we have to choose the path of good or evil. Unfortunately, sin and evil often appear pleasurable and desirable. When we are weak, worried, or stressed, the devil comes to us and makes tempting suggestions. He will make us think that if we give in, our problems will be solved and our life will be easy. He did it with Eve in the Garden. He did it with Jesus Christ in the wilderness. And he does it with each and every one of us today.

But, Jesus Christ gives us a prayer for times like these. He tells us that we can ask of God, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Dr. W.A. Criswell stated, “This is a request for the intervention of God in life’s moments of trial and temptation in such a manner that the ‘way of escape’ is made clear. The petition gives full recognition to the incredible deception and power of temptation and affirms that deliverance from the grasp of evil can come only from the Lord. ”

Now, the phrasing of this request in our English Bibles makes it sound like God is responsible for our temptations. However, when we look at the tense of the Greek in this verse, we find that what it is really saying is that our request ought to be that we not have to face temptation. In other words, our desire ought to be that we not even have to deal with the devil. However, the latter phrase — “but deliver us from evil” — acknowledges that it is possible that we will be tempted. In fact, it is a fact that we will be tempted. And, by asking God to deliver us from evil, we are saying, “Lord, although I would rather not be tempted, when I am tempted, please show me the way of escape and deliver me from it.”

Regarding this phrase, Spurgeon said: “The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification. When we pray, ‘Forgive us our debts,’ that is justification. When we pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,’ that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms.”

So, as sanctified children of God, our desire should be to not have any part in the works of the devil — and that includes the possibility of the works of the devil as presented to us via temptation. However, if we are honest, we have to admit that we will face temptation. And since we face that possibility every day, our “backup request” is, “Lord, when I am faced with temptation, deliver me from it. Give me the grace and the power of your Holy Spirit to say ‘no.'” John MacArthur says that this prayer speaks “of a heart desire and inclination that cause a believer to want to avoid the danger and trouble sin creates. It is the expression of the redeemed soul that so despises and fears sin that it wants to escape all prospects of falling into it, choosing to avoid rather than having to defeat temptation.”

Another thing we must note about the word temptation is that it does not only represent the appeal of sin. The very same word used for temptation in the Lord’s Prayer is used elsewhere in the New Testament when the Bible speaks of trials or tests. For example, James 1:2-3 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” So, what do you do when you are facing a trial? Is it right for us to pray that God deliver us from our trials even though we know that trials often strengthen us, purify us, and help us learn valuable spiritual lessons?

When we are facing a trial, we ought to pray as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is alright to express your desire that you be delivered from the trial if possible. But you must, at the same time, submit your will to God’s and leave everything in His hands. Jesus Christ prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” but He also prayed, “Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

Whether you are facing a temptation from the devil or a test from God, you can always go to our Heavenly Father in prayer for deliverance. No matter how difficult it may seem to resist temptation, and no matter how difficult it may seem to endure a trial, if you lean on God through prayer, He promises to carry you through. The hymn “Yield Not to Temptation” expresses this timeless message:

Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin;
Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus — He’ll carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain;
God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kind-hearted and true;
Look ever to Jesus — He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’er-cometh God giveth a crown;
Thru faith we will conquer tho often cast down
He who is our Savior our strength will renew
Look ever to Jesus — He’ll carry you through.

Ask the Savior to help you,
comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you —
He will carry you through.

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