Discipleship Lesson #14
How shall we pray- part 4
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6: 13a
The next item for us to include in our prayers is the request for protection, both physically and spiritually. The verse above is often used but rarely understood for Christ’s intended purpose in prayer. There are two ways of looking at the verse.
The first way people understand this verse is in the spiritual aspect. What does the Bible say about God’s involvement in our spiritual temptations? The Bible says that God cannot tempt us with evil (James 1:13). Evil here is defined as sinful actions. The Bible says that He gives good and perfect gifts because His character demands it. His character is holy, and righteous and without spot or blemish. He is totally perfect in His person. But it is God that permits us to be tempted. For instance, Satan had to go to God and ask for permission to attack Job. God gave His permission, yet along with the permission, He limited what Satan could do to Job. God does not allow us to be tempted more than what we are able but has made a way of escape for us if we just go to Him and ask for deliverance from evil (I Corinthians 10:13). There are really two different things that you are praying about. The first is that we do not get into temptation. This shows that if we pray we may not be tempted as much as what we could have been. But the second part and the focus is to pray for deliverance from evil. This is when we do get tempted (and yes we will from time to time), we will be able during that temptation to come to God in prayer so He will show us the way of escape. So this is the spiritual protection from temptation and yielding to that temptation.
The second way that people can see this verse is that of the physical aspect. The word temptation could also be understood as trials; so the verse would be asking God not to lead us into a trial. It is like that of Job when God tested him by letting Satan take away just about everything that he had: his great wealth, his children, and his health. With Job in mind, we need to ask God to protect us physically or, in other words, not to lead us into trials. The second part of the verse is to deliver us from evil. Evil in the Bible has two meanings. It could mean moral evil or sin which we already discussed, or it could mean bad things that happen. For instance, if you are healthy now, the evil that could come upon you might be that of sickness. Or if you have a good paying job, perhaps God will let it be taken away. Maybe it will be your possessions that will be taken away by the evil (flood, hurricane, fire, tornado, etc.) that will hit us like that of Job. So deliver us from evil shows that we need to ask God to deliver us from bad things that could befall us.
Either case of how you take the verse above, you need to ask God for wisdom during the time of temptation. This is perhaps the only way that you will be able to find the way that God will deliver you. Also, each day you need to ask God to protect you physically. This goes back to asking for physical needs by asking God to maintain what you have because in an instant it could all be gone. He could deliver you from those calamities but you should ask Him about it in prayer. There are many aspects in our lives that we overlook or convince ourselves that they are not important to God. Yet God is very interested in us because He made us and loves us. Do we go to Him in prayer? The Scripture says for us to pray about everything and not to worry about anything. Leave it to God, and He will never let you down.
How often do you pray for God to help you through trials or to avoid the trials? How often do you ask for God’s help when you are tempted to do wrong? No matter who you are, either new Christian or a seasoned saint, you need to pray for God to work in your life. If you don’t, you will not see clearly what God has in store for you. If you don’t you can’t see the miraculous done in your life!