JESUS TEACHES US TO PRAY
Mt. 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘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 today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Here’s a quick review of how Jesus has taught us to pray over the last few days of our study:
- Focus on God’s Person – He’s our Father
- Focus on God’s Place – He’s in heaven
- Focus on God’s Purity – Holy is Your name
- Ask for God’s Plan – Your kingdom come
- Ask for God’s Purpose – Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
- Ask for God’s Provision – Give us today our daily bread
- Ask for God’s Pardon – Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
- Ask for God’s Protection – And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one
In our study today, Jesus instructs us to pray about temptation and about being delivered from the evil one. Praying for these things alerts us to many aspects of the Christian life.
We have a spiritual enemy. As you may recall from earlier lessons, the devil was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14). Satan has been leading a rebellion ever since. The Bible specifically warns us about him:
1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
By receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have entered into a spiritual battle. As you spend your efforts praying and studying through these 90 days, you have a spiritual enemy actively trying to stop you. Have you noticed all the distractions and interruptions that have come your way as you try to focus, pray daily, and move forward?
This spiritual battle is precisely why Jesus teaches us to pray for deliverance. We fight against two enemies. We all have sinful natures. Our sinful nature is constantly trying to lead us away from God. These are the temptations that come from within.
We also fight against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. These are temptations that come from the outside. Followers of Jesus are constantly bombarded with opportunities to sin against God. Our prayer lives are an effective weapon of protection.
Whether our sinful natures or the devil himself tries to sidetrack our closer walk with Jesus, we don’t need to be afraid. As Paul instructs the Ephesians in the passage above, we are called to put on the full armor of God and stand in the strength of the Lord.
Jesus understands the attacks of the devil from first-hand experience:
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Jesus has not only been tempted to sin by the devil, He’s also the only One who successfully and completely resisted every temptation. He never sinned. All the rest of us have fallen. But did you notice Hebrews 2:15 above? Jesus shared in our humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil. Jesus conquers evil. He sets us free.
So, instead of worrying about the schemes of the devil, Jesus instructs us to pray. Our daily prayer time should include the request for God’s protection and deliverance. We are never told to fight the battle against evil in our own wisdom or strength. We are told to pray for protection. Only the Lord Jesus has the power to protect us from temptation and evil.
Jesus prayed for His disciples regarding temptation:
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 when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Jesus is praying for us too: Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Jesus understands exactly what we go through when we are tempted to sin. He prays for us. He instructs us to pray and ask for protection. The Lord always provides a way for us to avoid sinning against Him. If we fall, it’s our own choice.
1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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.
Review: (circle all correct answers)
- How does Jesus help us when it comes to temptation?
- Jesus identifies with our struggle because He has experienced temptation for Himself
- Jesus prays for us
- Jesus instructs us to pray for protection
- Jesus provides us with a way out of temptation
- All of the above
As you think about your own life, answer just one question: Are you lying to God when you ask him to lead you away from temptation? Some of us think we can change from sinners on Saturday night to saints on Sunday morning. We toy with sin. We are easily swayed in social settings when our friends disobey God.
Let’s examine our hearts today. Do we really hate sin as much as God hates sin? Do we grasp the destruction sin causes in our hearts and minds and relationships and world? When you pray for God’s protection from sin, be sure you pray with the intent to avoid sin at all costs.