Matthew 6:13
Deliver Us from Evil

   Jesus’ Pattern for Prayer part 11
    
We focus a lot on resisting temptation, but many of the temptations we struggle to resist are temptations that should have been avoided altogether—and could have been avoided had we followed Jesus’ instructions on prayer.
If a mafia boss put a price on your head or your children, how energetic would you be about protecting yourself? Jesus warned us of a far greater danger than a mafia hit and then taught us to pray for protection. This message explores how to do that. If you wait for the moment of temptation to fight temptation, you will lose.

  
Do you feel like you are in deep trouble right now? Anybody here have a sense that you are in grave danger? If not, then you probably do not feel any great need to pray for protection. In today’s text Jesus is going to teach us to pray regularly to be rescued from a terrible threat. Whether we feel it or not, Jesus is telling us that the threat is there, and failing to run to God for protection is suicide.

We have been working our way through the Sermon on the Mount and we come this morning to the final request in the Lord’s Prayer. Now remember the structure of the Prayer. The first half is about God’s name and kingdom and will, and the second half is about our needs – provision (daily bread), then pardon (forgive us), and now protection: Lead us not into temptation[1] but deliver us from the evil one.[2] That structure helps us understand why we are praying for those personal needs. We ask for provision, pardon, and protection from evil all for the sake of His name and kingdom and will.

Psalm 25:11 For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity

We pray for forgiveness mainly for His sake – so His name will be honored when we are forgiven. And we pray for protection from temptation for the same reason.

Proverbs 30:8 give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

He is saying, “Keep me from those temptations so I do not end up dishonoring Your name.” We look to God for provision, pardon, and protection because we desire, above all, His honor, kingdom, and will.

The Danger

Do not underestimate the danger

So if we care about God’s name we will run to Him for protection against evil – unless we do not see any significant threat. However dire the threat is in your mind – that is how hard you will pray and no harder. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make in the Christian life is our underestimation of the spiritual danger we are in. We are alert to physical dangers. You are alone in a dark alley surrounded by thugs in the middle of the night; you have a real sense of being in danger there. You cannot pay your bills – that gets you concerned. There is a seventy percent chance that your child has terminal cancer and you are waiting for the test results – you might send up a prayer or two then. But how concerned are we about the spiritual dangers out there? No matter how much financial trouble you are in – or medical trouble or whatever kind of temporal danger you are facing; it is nothing compared to the spiritual situation you are in at this very moment.

“Here’s some armor – you’ll need it!”

You and I are in a world of hurt spiritually. We are in grave danger. The Christian life is not a Disneyland ride where the Devil is like some plastic monster that roars at you through a speaker as your cart passes by on the track. We are in a real war with real casualties, and it is very possible that you or I could become one of those casualties.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

I think we have become so accustomed to talking about the spiritual armor that we are inoculated to the shocking, frightening fact that we are told we need armor. Think about it – what does that say about our situation? What if you were about to enter a house with someone and he said, “Here, put on this bulletproof vest.  I guarantee you’ll need it.”? Would your first reaction be to say, “Let me make a list of eight properties of the good ol’ bulletproof vest”? I don’t think so. I would be saying, “What do you mean I’ll need it? What’s about to happen?”

And that is just physical. The only thing at risk there is your body. The worst that can happen is you take a bullet to the head. If that would scare you, then having God hand you a spiritual bulletproof vest and telling you you will need it – that should be exponentially more alarming. Being a casualty in a physical gunfight is nothing compared to being a casualty in a spiritual war. I am not suggesting that it is a bad thing to study the properties of the pieces of spiritual armor in Ephesians 6. That is a great thing to do. What I am saying is that it will not do much good to study those if you do not begin the study with your eyes the size of quarters because of the fact that God told you you are going to need armor.

If the mafia were after you, you would take that seriously, right? Wouldn’t you take some drastic measures to insure your safety if you knew some major crime family had put a price on your head – or on your children? We are into something worse than that. We are in a real war against an opponent far more powerful than any crime boss – and far more vicious. Far more evil, and far more experienced in getting to people like you and me.

Don’t overestimate your strength

So let’s not underestimate the danger. And let’s not over-estimate our own strength either. The Disciples did that.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

Jesus warned them to pray for protection, but they didn’t because they thought they were plenty strong to handle what was coming, and the result was disaster – they all abandoned Christ.

One of the biggest things that keeps us from earnest prayer for protection is the fact that our spirit is willing to obey God. Our spirit is so willing and eager to obey right now at this moment that we think there is no way we will fall to temptation. But Jesus reminds us – “Yes, your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak.” Just because right now you are eager to do what is right does not mean you are going to still be standing after the enemy lets loose on you. Just because you feel strong right now at this moment, and you do not feel the slightest tinge of temptation right now – does not mean you will last five seconds once the onslaught of temptation hits. Your only hope is to watch, be alert – so you will know when to run, and pray that you will not enter into temptation.

So many of us are just asleep at the wheel when it comes to being alert to spiritual danger. We have warning after warning in Scripture about being awake and on guard and alert.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Thessalonians 5:6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and sober.

When we are careless about where we go and what we expose our eyes to and the situations we place ourselves in thinking, “I don’t feel any temptation at all right now, therefore I’m fine” – what foolishness that is. You would think we would know better after all the thousands of times we have thought that way and just hours later found ourselves falling flat on our face in sin. When you are not tempted at the moment that is probably because the enemy is not stupid. The predator does not give away his position until the moment he is ready to pounce on his prey, and then it is too late. If you wait to fight temptation until you are actually being tempted you will mostly fail. When you see a time or circumstance approaching in which you have frequently fallen in the past, but right now at the moment you feel no temptation at all – do not be fooled. Do not be like Peter. Jesus tried to warn him but Peter was so sure that he would never fall. He would die before betraying Jesus. So he spent his time boasting about his resolve rather than praying for protection. If we follow Peter’s example of over-confidence we will also follow him into the night where we end up weeping bitterly because of our sin.

We need protection (success depends mainly on Him, not you)

We are weak, our enemy is far more powerful than us, and we will fall if we do not pray for protection. And if we want the prayer to be answered, we must pray in faith – truly depending on God for victory. So often we pray, “God, deliver me from this sin” but deep down we really think success is mainly dependent on us. “If I get my act together I’ll have victory, otherwise I will not – period. Praying for help might help a little bit at the margin, but the bottom line is I just need to learn to say no to temptation.”

It is true that our actions matter. There are things we can do that will hinder the effectiveness of our prayers. But make no mistake – The determining factor of success or failure in our war against sin is God’s grace – whether or not He answers your prayer for protection. Prayer is not a little extra help at the margin. Prayer is the most essential factor in victory. Victory is not a matter of how strong you are as much as a matter of how protected you are. In our pride we want our victory to come not from our dependence on Christ, but from our own amazing strength and willpower.

Fleeing is better than resisting

Sometimes people even think it is better to be exposed to temptation so you know how strong you are. They imagine themselves to be more powerful than the enemy. And so in their pride they have an attitude that says to Satan, “Bring it on!” We want our victory to come by meeting the enemy face-to-face on the battlefield and coming out on top – not from hiding in some bunker. That way our victory will be due to our awesome strength rather than God’s protective shelter.

That is folly. Jesus did not teach us to pray, “Keep us from falling when we face temptation,” but “Keep us from even undergoing temptation in the first place.” We are not like a soldier going up against some other soldier. We are like lambs going against a lion. When we come out victorious it is never because of our own strength. It is always because of divine shelter. The person who comes up out of the bomb shelter and looks up at the planes dropping nuclear bombs and says, “Bring it on – I’ve been lifting weights and doing pushups!” – is a fool.

Satan can easily defeat you when you are outside the shelter

The moment we step outside of divine shelter it is the easiest thing in the world for Satan to defeat us. I can testify to that in my own life. I look back at my encounters with temptation and it is very obvious that Satan can make short work of me without even breaking a sweat.

Luke 22:31 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.

One farmer said that sifting wheat is the easiest, least labor-intensive task on the farm. And the “you” in that verse is plural – he is talking about all the Apostles. If God decides to let Satan off his leash to go after the Disciples he could defeat all twelve of them at once with one hand tied behind his back and it would be the easiest thing he did all day.

Failing to flee is presumption

Winning the battle by fleeing and hiding puts a dent in our egos. Sometimes people say, “I don’t want to avoid temptation. I want to get to where my character is so strong that I can walk right up within inches of sin and easily resist. I don’t want to be ten miles away hiding from it in a shelter somewhere, because then I will never know if I really have strength. After all, doesn’t God promise to give us the strength we need for victory against sin?” God will provide the strength we need for unavoidable temptations, but venturing close to avoidable ones is not only prideful, but it is presumption. J.R. Miller: “If we venture into places of temptation when duty does not lead us there, we put ourselves outside the divine shelter.” Imagine a little infant gets some terrible contagious disease. But the mother knows he will die without her, so she risks exposure in order to tend to her baby. That is admirable, and God will no doubt honor that. But if someone else goes wandering into the room for no good reason – just to prove how strong his immune system is, why would God honor that? The mother’s action is courage; the other guy’s action is pride. It is what the devil wanted Jesus to do when he told Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple to see if angels would catch Him. Jumping off a ledge hundreds of feet up is a lot like facing temptation. If you do it when you do not have to do it, do not expect to survive.

Jesus did not say, “Watch and pray that you will not succumb to temptation.” He said to pray that you would not even enter into it at all – you would not even be there when it hits. It is presuming on God when we expect Him to give us the strength to resist a temptation that could have been avoided.

The Director

OK, so we understand the danger – we need to ask God for deliverance. Deliver us from the evil one - that makes perfect sense to pray that. But what about the other part – lead us not into temptation? Does God lead people into temptation? James 1:13 says God does not tempt anyone. The answer is very simple – leading into temptation is not the same thing as actually tempting. The word translated lead means “to bring or carry.” Temptation is enticement to sin. God is carrying us along in life through providence, and He very often carries us into a situation where there is temptation. But He never, ever entices us toward sin or exerts influence on our hearts in the direction of evil. When God gives someone over to sin He does it by letting go, not by giving a push. God always either pulls a person toward righteousness, or lets go – but He never pushes toward evil. He never tempts anyone to sin.

God does carry us into temptation

There are three aspects to temptation: circumstances, desire, and enticement. If someone is tempted to steal some money, the circumstances might be that he sees someone’s wallet sitting there or has some opportunity to steal. That, in itself, is not temptation. It becomes temptation when you add two other ingredients – desire and enticement. If the guy has a covetous love of money in his heart, and Satan is there enticing and alluring and deceiving him into ignoring conscience and stealing the money – then you have temptation. The enticing comes from the devil. The desiring comes from your own heart. The circumstances come from God. If I find myself in a place where I am tempted, God is not the source of the enticement, and God is not the source of my evil desires, but He is the one controlling circumstances. God could have orchestrated things differently so I did not end up in that place at that time, but He didn’t.

So point 1 is The Danger; we will call this point The Director. God directs all circumstances. And when, in His perfect wisdom and love, He determines that it is time for a test, He allows you to stumble into a tempting situation. He does not entice you to sin, He does not push you toward evil, He exerts no influence on your heart in the direction of sin at all. But He is the author of the test. One day He decided to test Job and He did so by letting Satan loose on him, which is why it was correct for Job to say, “The Lord has taken away” and that his trial was from the Lord’s hand even though it was being carried out by Satan. The Devil can not do anything God does not let him do.

So does God lead or carry us into tempting situations? Yes – all the time.

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

The Holy Spirit did not tempt Jesus – Satan did, but the Spirit is the one who led Jesus out there into that situation of temptation. You are by yourself driving in another state, far from home, you pull off the highway to get a bit to eat, and there on the corner is a temptation. A liquor store, a topless bar, whatever. Could God have orchestrated the circumstances differently so you got off at the last exit instead? Or turned down another street, or just did not happen to notice that place on the corner? Of course, He could have. God is sovereign and He allowed you to end up face to face with the enemy behind enemy lines and now you are in real danger.

Why does God do that?

Why does God do that? Why does He carry us into tempting situations? Why doesn’t He organize this world in such a way so that I never come across any temptation? There is any number of possible reasons. It may be that your faith needs to be tested so you can discover if you really believe God’s promises. It may be that God is teaching you something. Or He is working to humble you. There are a host of reasons why God might choose to allow you to face a temptation – and in some cases that reason may simply be that you are not taking refuge in Him. Maybe He allowed you to get off on that exit and face that temptation just because before you started the trip you did not pray for protection from temptation. You were not seeking shelter in God from evil, so God allowed you to run into evil. In a situation like that, asking the Lord “why” is kind of like standing out in the rain in your front yard and asking the Lord why He is allowing you to get wet. He provides you with a house, then tells you that He will keep you dry if you stay in the house, so it is no mystery why He would allow you to get wet if you stand outside.

The Deliverer

God is the Director of tempting circumstances, but He is also the Deliverer of His people. So often we are battered and smashed around by sin unnecessarily. We become enslaved in a dreadful bondage to sin and we do not have to be. God is a refuge.

Protection is not automatic

He offers protection, but that protection is not automatic. One of the most dangerous mistakes we can make is to assume that God’s promises of protection are automatic and unconditional. They are neither.

Psalm 91:9 If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the Lord, who is my refuge-- 10 then no harm will befall you

Psalm 18:30 He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

We must take refuge in God and make Him our dwelling in order to be protected. And that is what is behind the prayer, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. The point is not to just recite some words. Those words in that prayer must reflect the direction of the heart, which is constantly looking to God as a refuge from evil and relying on Him completely for victory over sin.

Exemption from Temptations

And when we do that God will exempt us from many temptations. I say many, not all. We cannot be exempted from all temptations because some temptations are necessary for God’s perfect plan. Jesus never failed to look to God as His refuge, yet He found Himself out in the desert being tempted. Praying to be shielded from temptation is just like praying for anything else. At the end of the prayer you still pray, “Nevertheless, not my will but Your will be done.” Sometimes we absolutely must face a temptation. And in those times, thankfully, no matter how much we pray for protection, God will still carry us into that tempting situation because it is what is best at that moment. However, there are other times when there is another way. And in those cases we may face the temptation if we fail to pray for protection, but we will not have to face it if we do pray for protection.

And when that happens, it is one of those prayers you cannot see the answer to. God makes it so you end up getting off on the next exit where there is no temptation and you have no idea that at the last exist where you almost got off there would have been a problem. God could answer this prayer a hundred times in a day without you ever knowing about it.

There are some temptations that, when the circumstances are a certain way, we fall to them every time. And if God allowed us to face those circumstances twenty times a day we would fall twenty times a day. And you know the enemy would do that if he could. But it is not happening, which means the Lord must be answering your prayer and not allowing you to be tempted in that way. That is what we are asking for when we say, “Carry me not into temptation.” And the more we pray that the more protection we will have.

Providing a way out

And even in those times when the temptation is necessary for God’s perfect plan, that does not mean we are without protection. When God does not grant our request, lead us not into temptation, we can still pray the other part - deliver us from the evil one. “If I must face the temptation, don’t let Satan win.” And God answers that prayer by providing you the grace to resist the temptation.

2 Peter 2:9 the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

We have all felt temptations that seemed way more than we could resist, but none of us have actually ever experienced a temptation beyond what we can handle – and we never will. Unbelievers will, but never a child of God.

1 John 5:18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.

19 the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one.

Satan can do as he pleases with them, but not us. God is protecting us every moment of every day from satanic attack.

Guarding your faith

What about when we resist that grace and fall to the temptation? Even then He is protecting us. Satan asked to sift Peter like wheat and God said “yes”. Peter was boasting when he should have been praying and he needed to undergo that test. And Peter would fail that test and fall into terrible sin. But the Lord still wanted to protect his faith.

Luke 22:31 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.

And Jesus prays that way for all of us.

John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

Our security – no outside doorknob

So God is our Protector. But that protection is conditioned in large measure on our recognizing how much danger there is and running to Him as our Protector – taking refuge in Him. One commentator said it this way: “We are so made that no power in the universe can force the door of the castle in which we live. The door has no knob or latch outside. It can be opened only from within. Nor can all the power of the world’s evil force its way into the sanctuary in which we dwell. Thus we have only to refuse to yield, and temptation has no power to harm us.” You are locked in a secure fortress. The enemy cannot even begin to penetrate it. There is one way and one way only for him to get in – for you to open the front door and let him in. Satan cannot force you to sin. The only possible way for you to end up in sin is for you to willingly choose to do it.

The Desire

So we have seen the Danger, the Director, the Deliverer, and now one more – the Desire. One of the things we have seen again and again in this study of the Lord’s Prayer is that prayer is the expression of desire in the heart. You pray for what you want. If you do not really want it, your prayer is disingenuous. So when Jesus tells us to pray for shelter from temptation it implies that we must genuinely want shelter from temptation.

Past and Future

When we talked about praying for our daily bread, I emphasized the importance of focusing on the present – daily bread – not annual bread. When we talked about forgiveness the focus is on the past. But when we pray for protection we are looking to the future.

With our physical needs we are tempted to focus too much on the future. So Jesus says, “No, all you need is today’s daily bread.” But with spiritual protection it is the other way around. We tend to focus on the present. If we do not feel any temptation right here and now we think we are fine, and so Jesus has to continually remind us to stay alert about those temptations that are around the corner.

If you really want forgiveness you will also want protection

And that should come naturally after praying for forgiveness. When I sin against God and ask forgiveness, now that I am back on a joyful footing with God my biggest desire is going to be to stay on that joyful footing and not to foul it up with another sin. Maclaren: “All sin leaves some tendency to recurrence. The path which one avalanche has hollowed lies ready for another.” It is exponentially more difficult to avoid falling to a sin after you have already fallen to that sin once. So after we ask forgiveness we pray hard for future protection.

One of the marks of true repentance is a heart that is just as concerned about future sin as past sin. The person who says, “Forgive me for the sin I committed” but who is not doing what he can to prevent future sin has not turned from his sin and should not expect forgiveness.

There are some people who think of God’s forgiveness as nothing but a “get out of hell free” card. So they just keep going in their sinful lifestyle with no intension of giving it up, and they say, “Isn’t this wonderful? I can do whatever I want and God just keeps forgiving my sin.” Those people are in for a rude awakening on Judgment Day when they will discover that none of their sins are forgiven. Those people are not even saved.

But sometimes we who are saved do something similar. We do not take it to those extremes; we are just relaxed about guarding ourselves against future temptation. We have some area in our lives where we tend to fall to temptation again and again. But we will not take any desperate measures to change our life around or sacrifice whatever we need to sacrifice to avoid that tempting circumstance in the future. We are content to just keep trying to reform our character so that we will eventually be strong enough to resist the temptation. And that might take years. But in the mean time we are content to continually expose ourselves to that tempting situation, even though we know we are likely to fall.

If that is you, and you are banking on the idea that God is forgiving you each time you ask, think about what asking forgiveness really means. When you genuinely ask someone to forgive you, you are asking for the relationship to be restored. You are saying “I really want the closeness of this relationship to be re-established.” But if you are not willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid that same sin in the future, then obviously you are not all that concerned about the closeness of the relationship, because you are willing to proceed into the future on a track that will most likely result in violating that relationship again. If you will not go out of your way to avoid messing up the relationship again in the future then obviously your prayer for forgiveness is disingenuous. We cannot say, “Lord, restore the relationship” out of one side of our mouth while at the same time not be willing to take steps to avoid the same assault on the relationship being repeated in the future. If guarding the closeness of the relationship is not important to you then restoring it is not either. If you are not willing to do all you can to avoid the sin in the future then you are not truly even asking forgiveness for the last time you committed it.

Now, if you do all you can think to do to avoid exposure to that temptation in the future, but you run into it anyway and you fall once again – does that cast a shadow on the genuineness of your repentance? No. But if you are not willing to take extreme steps to avoid future exposure then it does put your repentance into question. Jesus said if your eye causes you to sin gouge it out and throw it away – that is extreme.

Put your money where your mouth is

How strong is your desire to avoid future sin? Agur really put his money where his mouth was in Proverbs 30 when he prayed his version of the Lord’s Prayer. He did not just say, “Lead me not into temptation” – he got specific. He knew exactly what temptations he was vulnerable to and prayed to be protected from those.

Proverbs 30:8 give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

How many times have you ever prayed that? “Oh dear God, please, please don’t give me wealth.” There are special temptations that come with wealth. But most of us would say, “Don’t worry, God – I could handle those just fine. Don’t hold back on giving me wealth just because of that. I can deal with the temptations of wealth.” That shows a heart that values money more than righteousness. Agur knew his heart well enough to know that if he got rich he would, over time, face the temptation to become self-sufficient and have less of a sense of dependence on the Lord. And so he did not pray, “Give me wealth and then give me victory over that temptation.” He prayed, “Don’t give me wealth so I won’t even have to face that temptation.”

Do you put your money where your mouth is when you pray, “Lead me not into temptation?” Do you get specific? Lord, don’t let that attractive person at work give me a second look because I know what will happen in my heart. Father, don’t let my name even be in the running for the promotion because I know it will be a distraction for me. Don’t let me be able to afford a vacation that would place me in a context of temptation. If we really hate sin as much as we claim to, and we really believe what the Bible says about how damaging and harmful it is; if we really meant it the last time we asked God to forgive us, then we will be passionate and specific in our prayers pleading with God to keep us miles away from tempting situations.

And the more we pray that way the more it will affect our actions. You cannot pray every day with Agur, “Lord, don’t ever let me become rich” and then go out and buy lotto tickets. The more often we cry out to God not to carry us into tempting situations the less inclined we will be toward carrying ourselves into tempting situations.

The Doxology

If you have a modern translation, deliver us from the evil one is the end of the prayer. That famous ending “for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever amen” is beautiful, but it was not in the original. It was added later. And it is not difficult to understand why someone wanted to add it. Without it the Lord’s Prayer ends on kind of a negative note. The very last word of the prayer is evil, and then it is over – no “amen” or anything. And we do not like things to end on such a downer. But Scripture does not need our help. We do not need to spruce up the Lord’s Prayer. As wonderful and true as that doxology is, if it is not part of the Scripture then we do not need it.

It is appropriate that the Lord’s Prayer would end on a down note – a word about the problem of evil, because that is where we live. Jesus is more concerned about reality than rhetoric or eloquence. We do not live in the final kingdom – we live in a world where evil is a problem. And so “deliver us from the evil one” is the perfect way to end this prayer because it leaves off right where we live – in the midst of the raging battle that we are fighting in this life.

Conclusion

Model for all of life

The Lord’s Prayer is a great model not just for praying, but also for preaching. Why would I ever want to preach a sermon that had a goal that was not one of the lines in the Lord’s Prayer? Shouldn’t every sermon have the goal that people would hallow His name and advance His kingdom and do His will? And for all of that to happen by pointing to God as the forgiver of past sin and the protector from spiritual danger and the provider of all needs?

It is a model for preaching – and for all we do in the church. In fact, if the Lord’s Prayer is an outline for all praying, and praying is an expression of your desires, then the Lord’s Prayer is an outline for all desiring. And since all that we do should arise from godly desire, the Lord’s Prayer is an outline for all of life. What did Jesus leave out of this prayer? What important part of life is not included in the prayer? I cannot think of anything. The Lord’s Prayer is an outline for everything we ever do or desire or say or think. All of life should be one example after another of us looking to God as our Provider, Protector and Forgiver for the sake of His name, His kingdom, and His will.

The ancient church fathers believed the world was held together by God’s people praying the Lord’s Prayer. I would be hard pressed to argue with that. For two thousand years we have been praying the Lord’s Prayer - what good thing has ever happened in this world in that two thousand years that was not an answer to the Lord’s Prayer? What good thing has ever happened that was not for the honoring of God’s name and the coming of His kingdom and the doing of His will?

Benediction: 1 Thessalonians.5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.



[1] Many have suggested the translation: “Lead us not into testing, but deliver us from trouble.” They argue that it cannot mean temptation because God would never lead people into temptation because that would be tantamount to tempting them, which God does not do. But providentially bringing us into a tempting situation is not the same as actually enticing toward evil. It is hard to imagine Jesus would teach us to pray that we would not be tested by God or suffer trouble – and leave spiritual issues out of the prayer. We do not need to be protected from God’s testing; we need to be protected from sin.
[2] Carson argues this must mean “evil one” because the word “from” (apo as opposed to ek) is the preposition used for persons.