A Kingdom Prayer: Lead us Not into Temptation but Deliver us.
|Our Father in heaven, |
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew6:9-13)
As we come to the last lines of the Lord's Prayer, we should remember that the first part of the prayer pointed us to God, our eyes are lifted heavenward, and we are reminded what a right view of God looks like. The second part shows us how the right view of God enables us to both relate to the world and to resist the evil one. This is the essence of the last lines of the Lord's Prayer.
We are to ask for God's protection "and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." God would never tempt the believer, because it is not His nature to tempt us, though He may at times test us to refine our faith. The last lines of the Lord's Prayer are to do with protection from the devil, the Prince of lies. When he comes to tempt us, like he tempted Jesus, we will be given the strength both to endure and to escape his schemes. As believers, we must pray to be led out of temptation, delivered from evil, so that we might not fall short and sin. Through Christ we will be led onto the paths of righteousness.
The Reformers understood that a right view and a right relationship with God would help them to resist the world the flesh and the devil. Today we are still confronted by all sorts of evil and schemes from the Devil. There are temptations by our pride, lust, greed and self-reliance. There are evils of social injustice, corruption, and hate all about us. The Lord's Prayer reminds that when things seem darkest, we can look to heaven, receive strength from our heavenly Father to resist evil and join him in His rescue mission to the world. The reformer, Martin Luther said that when one feels down and overwhelmed, to "say the Lord's Prayer, and tearfully tell God what you need. ... God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers---not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful." And as the Risen Jesus reminds us, believers triumph over the evil one "by the blood of the lamb by the word of their testimony" Rev 12:11a.
Douglas Bower is the minister at St. Columba's Church in Hatfield, Pretoria. He enjoys mountain biking, walking the dogs, spending time with his wife Caitlin, and playing with his baby son Joshua.
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