“And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.” [ Matthew ch6 v13]
This couplet within the Prayer has a negative and a positive side to it. The negative is a plea to help us not to return to our old ways after having been Forgiven by God. When we have been Forgiven and are aware of the burden of sin falling off our shoulders, so to speak. Then we want to remain in that “Good Place” in our hearts and soul. We ask for help so that we do not fall for the old temptations which almost seem so natural to us. Or, listen to those who would lead us astray, with phrases like, “who would know” or “everyone does it” or “it is only telling a white lie”.
The problem with lies is that one is never enough to cover the wrong, there are different people to tell the lie to, then, like the spiders web it grows and becomes complicated then we find ourselves saying, “I wish I had never started this”. Then we find ourselves promising never to get into the situation again, and the way to keep that promise is to keep to the truth and find ways of speaking the truth which is not hurtful or which sounds aggressive.
We ask God in fact not to take us to the “Testing Place”, where we have to face that test of life, making the decision as to which road to go down, the way of the Lord or the road which looks easier but is the road to the Evil One. The tempting voice which says this way is much easier, this way is trouble-free, though nothing can be further from the truth, and that road is the one which takes us away from God. Jesus did tell us to go through the narrow gate to walk His Way and that is what is always open to us. To put behind us all that causes us to stumble, all the temptations we have large or small, we ask God to help us in that and ask that He keeps us from all of these things.
Let us look at the Positive side of these words of Jesus. We ask to be kept and in fact shielded from the Evil One who has nothing but the worst for us. God has only the best intentions for us and encourages us to be the best that we can be. We need to pray for His power in our lives to overcome anything that will diminish us and cause us harm.
Shielded from temptation and from sleepwalking into danger where we do not even realise that we are wandering down the wrong way. How many have said, “I can give this up any time I want to”. When in fact they are held in thrall to an addiction which will never let them go. How many are led astray by so-called “friends” who are not and find themselves involved in something which is so harmful and causes so many problems. That is the time to pray earnestly to be kept from such influences and potential hazards.
I know that many will say but I am not involved in these things in any way and I do not have to worry so much. The thing is we never know, and we are not always aware of the influences others have in our lives, how our natural sense of justice can be affected by the words and thoughts of others with their own agenda. An agenda which is not for our good but for theirs. Evil is subtle and almost invisible, we can find ourselves under attack from the Evil One when doubt hits us and we worry about our faith and what it all means. In every case, pray for the protection of God whose strength is far greater than ours and who cares for us in every way, who will always listen and will always bring us close to Him.
I know that I have only managed to skim along the surface of the Lord’s Prayer but I hope that it has given you some food for thought and when you do say it in church that you have a sense of what you are praying. The final lines which we say were not the words of Jesus but a response to His prayer –“For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever” fitting words of Praise and approbation of the wonder and greatness of God’s Love and Power.
LET US PRAY
Father in Heaven, we come before You now, in all humility and in love.
We thank You for Jesus and for His pattern of Prayer which has bound Christians throughout the ages and throughout the world today.
We thank You for Your care for us and for the way You protect us even when we are not aware of the need for that protection.
Always save us from the evils of this life and help us to remember that we can pray to You to help us in times of trouble and difficulties.
We thank You for the Hope we have in Jesus and in the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit always walking with us and prompting us in a positive way.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus our Saviour,
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