“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
As we begin to pray through the last line of The Lord’s Prayer, it’s important to reflect on how Jesus brought us here. The Lord’s Prayer builds off itself, showing beautiful depth and fostering deep safety. But this is the nature of prayer; the more we talk to God, the more we know Him, and the safer we feel in His Presence and in all of life.
Jesus started the Lord’s Prayer by inviting us in and lovingly leading us as we learn to pray (v.9a). He told us to begin by addressing God as Father to 1. honor Him and 2. remind us that when we pray we’re talking to the kind, loving Father who adores each of us individually (v.9b). We acknowledge and remember that this Father God who cares so deeply about me, but He is also the holy, powerful God who is over everything (v.9c). Here we begin to pray, because who wants to learn to talk to an invisible, wimpy god who thinks you’re just fine? God wants to talk to you because you are the apple of His eye, and this adoring Father has real power to change anything and everything, including your heart.
Still, before we ask anything of Him, Jesus teaches us to remember that this loving, mighty God is now and forever reigning over our true home, His Kingdom that is so different from this world. Jesus teaches us to seek for this kingdom and long for it in prayer (v.10a). It’s the reigning King, who loves me deeply, in whom we can trust to do what’s best. Jesus invites us to wrestle with our desires in prayer so we might begin to trust His desires over our own (v.10b-c).
Now that we’ve reminded our hearts of who we’re talking to, with repetitive focus on his care for me while being paradoxically mighty, it’s in verse 11 that Jesus invites us to make requests of God. All of this preface hasn’t been for pomp’s sake, Jesus wisely and kindly walked us through those prayers so our hearts may be more open handed when we finally ask of God, more willing to accept what ever He actually has for us. We’re invited to ask freely, boldly, and repeatedly in light of the powerful God who adores you.
Just before we come to the last line, Jesus invites us to confess our sins to our adoring, perfect Father (v.12a). We recognize the eternal distance our sin once put between us and God and receive with freedom and acceptance Christ bought for us as we struggle in sin still. With this in mind, Jesus invites us to fight to forgive others who have hurt and wronged us (v.12b). God wants us to wrestle through this hard place with Him because He really is the caring Father He says He is.
With all of this stored up in our heart, we begin to pray the last line, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Jesus invites us to wrestle through temptation to sin and the evil darkness that’s surrounding us (v. 13). Remember, you spent last week confessing your sin to God, rejecting guilt because the price for those sins has already been paid in full. You are already accepted, right now, this moment. God currently and forever calls you Beloved. Do you see Jesus’ tender care for your heart in this teaching? He told you to confess your sin in prayer, confident that the Spirit would wash you of guilt and remind you of how completely you’re forgiven you are. Jesus did this to create a safe space for you to wrestle through temptation to keep sinning. You are forever His, forever forgiven, and so you can openly talk to God about all of the darkness still in your heart. Bring up the ugly because you are loved. After all, you’re talking to your Heavenly Father who loves you so and has the power to bring light to even the darkest of places.
Because talking to God is a place where you are always wholly loved and accepted, no matter what you’ve done or a struggling with, be specific and open with Him. Let God be your Defender, your Light, and your Guide. You enter this safety and learn to pray by doing it, it’s not enough to read about it or talk about it, so walk into the shelter from temptation and evil Jesus has offered you and pray.
Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other; but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself. Let the inquiring Christian trample underfoot every slippery trick of his deceitful heart and insist up open and frank relations with the Lord.
Then he should remember that this is holy business. No casual or careless dealings will suffice. Let him come to God in full determination to be heard. Let him insist that God accept his all, that He take things out of his heart and Himself reign there in power. It may be he will need to become specific, to name things and people by their names one by one. If he will become drastic enough he can shorten the time of his travail from years to minutes and enter the good land long before his slower brethren who coddle their feelings and insist upon cautious dealings with God.
Let us never forget that such a truth as this cannot be learned by rote as one would learn the facts of physical science. They must be experienced before we can really know them.
A.W. Towzer, The Pursuit of God
Monday, November 6th
Listen to “Empty Me Out” by Liz Vice.
Close your eyes and listen intentionally to the lyrics. What do these lyrics make you think of? What images come to mind? What lyrics stand out to you? Why are those specific lyrics meaningful to you? What could God be trying to speak to you through those words? Talk to Him about these things.
“Lord, it’s not me, it’s You inside of me
And Jesus, You are all these eyes can see”
Talk to God about the fact that you alone cannot resist temptation or be delivered from evil. Thank God and worship Him that you don’t have to do it alone!
Listen to this song again. As you sing the words, “Jesus, You are all these eyes can see,” talk to God in your heart and ask Him to help you resist distraction so Jesus can be all your eyes can see. Thank God that there is real power in fixing your eyes on Jesus.
Tuesday, November 7th
Is there something that feels incredibly tempting to do, but you know it’s wrong? (ex. Gossip, sexual sin, putting others down, selfishness, checking out and numbing yourself often, lying) Why is this particular sin so tempting to you? What’s so desirable about it? Talk to God about it in detail. Ask Him to give you strength to resist this temptation.
Wednesday, November 8th
Have you been asking God for something, yet it seems like His answer is “No”? Why might He be saying no? Do you believe He’s still listening to you? Do you believe He still cares for you? How can God be good to you and answer your prayer “No”?
Talk to God openly about these things. He knows this might be a difficult conversation for you, but He wants to enter these tender spaces with you. God can handle your questions, He’s inviting you to ask.
Considering asking for prayer about this in your community group this week.
Thursday, November 9th
Is there a temptation or some evil you’ve asked God to change or take away, but it’s still there? How does this make you feel toward God? Talk to God about why these circumstances haven’t changed and what good God is doing despite the darkness.
Remember, faith focuses on the facts about God and on His promises instead of on the circumstantiates. Who is God when temptation and darkness persist? Talk to God about this.
Read about the Apostle Paul’s wrestle with this in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
Friday, November 10th
What is something burdening you today? What feels heavy? Is it one thing or does it feel like a million little things pressing in? Talk to God about it, naming those burdens. Ask God to deliver you from the darkness.
Saturday, November 11th
Ask God to protect Veritas from temptation to sin and the darkness in this world. Ask Him to help us abandon the ways of the world and run hard after Him alone. Pray this over our leaders and over your specific community group.