- Matthew 6:9-12 - “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.”
You can see this right out of the gates. In verses nine and ten, Jesus teaches us that prayer is first and foremost about God's Glory, not our Glory. Jesus tells us that the right place for us to start when praying is on your knees exulting the God of the Universe. Your prayer should place Him in the center of your heart and your mind. Therefore, we are taught that prayer is not a personal wish-list, it is to be an act of worship.
Next, we see Jesus then teach us how we should pray for ourselves. First, He tells us to pray for bread. Which is just another way to tell us to pray for the necessities of life. Second, he tells us to pray for forgiveness. Why? Because we are sinners and we need God's Grace through Jesus Christ to have eternal life. Third, he tells us to pray for protection in our lives, “deliver us from evil.”
The Lord's Prayer is made up of six petitions. Our Master, Jesus Christ is telling us that these are the six greatest need in our lives: God's Glory, God's Kingdom, God's will, food to live, forgiveness for our sins, and protection from evil.
Do your prayers look anything like the Lord's Prayer? Each night, or before meals, or early in the morning when you are alone with the Lord, do any of these things cross your heart and your lips? They should. Jesus is giving us the keys to joy. He is telling us point blank what our greatest needs are. We should trust him and his teaching and implement his structure of prayer into our life. By this I don't mean vainly be reciting the Lord's Prayer over and over again, but with longing and affections for these things to come into your life like a waterfall drenching you with God's Grace.
My challenge to all of you is to implement a six minute Lord's Prayer. Every day, pray for each of the six petitions of the Lord's prayer for one minute. Spend on minute praying for each of these things. For example pray that God's name would be hallowed in your life. Pray that God would be glorified in your marriage. Pray that you would cause His name to be feared in your workplace. Pray that God would give you boldness to spread His Holy name in your neighborhood. After a minute or so, move to “Your Kingdom come” and so on and so forth. Imagine the ripple effect if our small little Church took the Lord's Prayer seriously. As James 1:22 says:
- James 1:22 - “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. “
- Matthew 6:13 - “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
- James 1:13-15 - “Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
So the answer is clear, God does not tempt us with evil. God's hands are always clean. God is a good, righteous and Holy God and he is not to blame for my sin, I am to blame for my sin. My sin is because of something inside of me that lures me to make decisions that are against God's will.
Having said that, this does not mean that God will not allow you to be tempted, or to be tested or to be tried, by your circumstances and/or Satan. Here are some Biblical examples of God allowing temptation:
- Job 1:8-12 - “And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" 9Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." 12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.”
- Matthew 4:1 - “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
- Luke 22:31-32 - “"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
In my opinion, this is extremely helpful in our Christian walk. Let's be honest, life is hard. Every day we are assaulted with temptation and trials. Isn't it comforting to know that God is sovereign over all those temptations. God is not a pathetic little God who is caught off guard by our struggles, but that he is intimately aware of what is going on in our lives. That Satan is merely a dog on a leash, and God can yank it back whenever he wills. It gives me great peace to know that God has authority over my struggles.
I want us now to turn our attention to the second half of the prayer “Deliver us from evil.” This is what I want us to focus on for the remainder of the time, because this, I believe, is the heart what Jesus wants us to pray.
To begin, let us understand the word “evil.” If you use the New International Version, you will see that there is a difference. It says, “deliver us from the evil one.” The English Standard Version, which I am using just says evil, your foot note most likely says “or the evil one.” It is my belief that both fit, but I think Jesus had in mind the evil one when he said the Lord's Prayer. The reason I believe this is John 17:15. In John 17 we see Jesus praying, and he prays this for his disciples:
- John 17:15 - “ I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”
So who is this evil one? I am guessing that all of us know this answer. The evil one is Satan. Jesus is teaching us that one of the six requests that we should be making to God in prayer is protection from Satan. We should pray for food, forgiveness, and now protection. How often do you do this? How often do you start your day praying that God would protect you from the devil as you walk out your door? In fact, how often do you even think about Satan?
In this day in age, I worry we don't think about him enough. It is not in vogue to go around speaking his name. In fact, it is a great trick of Satan to convince you that he does not exist. He is a master of hiding. His is the not only the Father of lies, but he is the Father of guerrilla warfare. In his first temptation in the Garden of Eden, this Angelic being, who before His fall stood in the presence of God disguises himself as a little old snake so as to set the trap for Adam and Eve. Likewise, we are told in 2 Corinthians 11:14,
- 2 Corinthians 11:14 - “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
- 1 Peter 5:8 - “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.“
Too often we forget that we are in the midst of war, that is until we become a casualty. Since the beginning, God has been warning us of the reality of evil in our lives. Listen to what God said to Cain in Genesis 4:7.
- Genesis 4:7 - “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."
- Ephesians 6:11 - “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
The question is why don't we care about this powerful enemy? Why don't we pray, “Deliver us from evil” every single morning before we step out into the battlefield of our lives. The answer is because we are arrogant. We think we have within ourselves the capacity to win the battles of our lives. Peter is a great example of this arrogance.
- Matthew 26:33-35 - “Peter answered him, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." 34Jesus said to him, "Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." 35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!" And all the disciples said the same.”
- Matthew 26:40-41 - “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter,"So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Let me ask you, do you think Peter was was happy the night he denied Jesus? Do you think he enjoyed when Satan devoured him? Absolutely not.
- Matthew 26:75 - “And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.”
The result of Peter's sin was bitter weeping. He exchanged prayer for sleep, and joy for tears. And this is the core of what we are talking about. We are undermining our joy, we are undermining our purpose, we are undermining our relationship with our Father in heaven when we lose the daily battles against Satan's schemes.
It doesn't have to be this way. Jesus is telling us that the answer is simply to ask God to deliver us, and he will.
- Luke 11:9-13 - “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"