Deliver Us From The Evil One

"Deliver us from the evil one."

There is evil in the world. We have seen evil, experienced it, and even participated in it. People hurting one another, terrorists blowing things up, and sometimes the darkness in our own hearts. But, Jesus says there is also deliverance in the world. That’s the power of this phrase “deliver us from evil.”

Exodus 3:8 says, “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (NIV).

God wants to deliver people as He delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. When we pray “deliver us from evil,” God does two things. First, He rescues us from our sin (salvation). Second, He brings us to a new place (guidance). We need those things every day, don’t we? It is the same thing as praying “save me from sin, help me in this situation, take me from where I am to the place you want me to be.”

This is great news because God moves us from the presence of evil into the presence of complete goodness, His presence. Prayer, especially this one, brings us into the presence of God where we receive love, and grace, and hope.

What can God deliver you from today?

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

“Lead us not into temptation”

I must confess that I've spent little time really thinking about this section of the Lord’s Prayer.  While I have been able to quote it since I was a child, I never stopped to think about what Jesus was trying to teach us in this portion of His model prayer. 

It is very easy to pass right over this section and not allow yourself to pause and wrestle with the question of why it is important to pray that God “lead us not into temptation.” 

James 1:13 clearly states that God does not tempt us, so why would Jesus teach us to pray that God not do something that He has already promised to never do? 

Perhaps it helps to remember the story of Job. 

There is a mysterious interaction at the beginning of the book of Job where God and Satan engage in conversation regarding the motivation for Job’s righteousness. God contends that Job is a man of integrity while Satan states that he only acts that way because he has a good life, and that if it were all taken away, he would turn from his love of God. God permits Satan to test Job by taking away his family, his riches, and finally his health. 

While this is another hard passage of the Bible to wrestle with, it is helpful to consider when trying to understand this section of the Lord’s Prayer. God did not abandon Job and even met with him at the end of his testing. It is interesting that although Job never gets the answer to the question of why he went through all that he did, his encounter with the Living God was enough to make him declare that simply seeing God was enough to strengthen him during his time of testing.

God promises that He will show up when His children need Him. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that not only is God faithful and will not allow us to be tempted or tested beyond what we are able to endure, he will also show up and provide a way out so that we can remain standing and endure the trial we are facing.

James also addresses this concept by stating that God blesses those who endure testing and temptation, and identifies evil as the root cause. It is important to look ahead to the rest of this sentence in Matthews’s account of Jesus’ prayer.

After requesting that God keep us from temptation, Jesus also pleads for his people to be rescued from Satan, which is the very mission He came to earth to accomplish. The New Living Translation of Matthew 6:13 reads like this: “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." When viewed in this context, the importance of praying for divine strength to resist temptation is profoundly understandable.

When you pray, do you ask for strength to stand against temptation? Do you pray believing that God can and is willing to help you stand under the weight of whatever temptation you're facing?

Forgive Us Our Debts

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”

In the Bible, there is a festival or celebration called “Jubilee.” For the Israelites, after seven cycles of seven years (49 years), there would be a sabbatical year during the 50th year. This was called the Year of Jubilee. You can read all about it in Leviticus 25.

Whenever this year came for the Israelites, an extraordinary thing happened. Slaves, prisoners, and captives were set free; property was returned to its original owners; and all financial debts were forgiven. During this Year of Jubilee, both the land and the people were given the opportunity to rest.

When Jesus came onto the scene, he did something that made some people really happy and others very angry. In Luke 4, Jesus walks into a synagogue and reads a portion of Scripture that comes from Isaiah. Jesus says this:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."

Luke then writes that Jesus,

“Rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus is announcing that the Year of Jubilee has come in him! In Jesus, captives are released, slaves are freed, and debts are forgiven!

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, you and I are now freed from the slavery of sin and our debt has been forgiven!

Because of this, we are to forgive others when they are indebted to us.

During the Year of Jubilee, God commanded the Israelites to set people free and forgive debts because “It is to me that the people of Israel are servants. They are my servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 25:55).

As Christians, we live in a time of perpetual Jubilee because Jesus has forgiven us from the debt of sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, but servants of righteousness (Romans 6:16-23)!

That is good news! That calls for celebration! That calls for Jubilee!

As you reflect on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:12 today, think about these questions:

  1. How does Jesus’ forgiveness resonate with you?
  2. How can you imitate God and forgive someone who has wronged you?
  3. What would a life of “Jubilee” look like for you today?

Give Us This Day

Give us this day our daily bread.

This weekend, Dan pointed out, "There's nothing so big that God can't handle it, and there's nothing so small that God's not interested in it."

 

John 6:32-35 says:
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 

 

When The Bread of Life tells us to ask God for our daily bread—to provide for our needs, big and small—it's a significant request. God is really good at giving us exactly what we need, whether we know we need it or not. So when we ask for something as simple as our daily bread, God reminds us that He doesn't just want to provide us with the bread, He wants us to have The Bread, the Source of life, Jesus.

This kind of generosity is almost foreign to us. We know that when we use a resource, that resource is depleted; it's a fact of nature. But God's resources are never depleted. He will always have enough. He will always be enough. He is sufficient for everything. And He cares enough to give it freely. Read Matthew 7:11, Luke 15:22-24, John 1:16, and Philippians 4:19.

Jesus was very familiar with the generosity of God; it was the lifeblood of his ministry. It’s important to keep in mind how Jesus teaches us all to pray when we’re asking God to provide our daily needs. And it’s ultimately important we remember that prayer can give us our ultimate need: a real relationship with God.

 

Consider:

Where have you seen God’s generosity on display?

Is there a need you haven't asked God about because you fear it's too big? A need that you've thought was too small for God to really care about it? Try praying for it and see what happens.

Your Kingdom Come

“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”

What a statement! After acknowledging that God is our Holy Father, Jesus now turns to a statement about God’s might and our surrender. Kingdoms are led by powerful kings, and God is commonly referred to as the King of all kings. Kingdoms were common throughout history but none compare to the way God leads His Kingdom.

 

God’s Kingdom

The leading and most important description of God’s Kingdom is God himself; His presence makes all the difference. In the beginning of Genesis everything is perfect. Adam and Eve are walking with God and enjoying life. There is a Tree of Life and a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Only one thing was prohibited: they couldn't eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. You probably know how Adam and Eve responded. You tell a person not to do one thing, and that’s the one thing they want to do.It changed everything. What's terribly sad about it is that Adam and Eve already had intimate knowledge of Good because they walked with God. The only knowledge they received was of Evil. The course of people’s relationship toward God changed dramatically.

But God didn’t turn His back on his estranged family members. Through grace, He kept the lines of communication open. At the end, in Revelation 21:3-4, we hear a loud voice from the throne saying “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

God’s Will on Earth as it is in Heaven

God not only kept the lines of communication open but according to Romans 5:8 “He demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

Colossians 1:19-20 says, “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Think about that. God didn’t just tell us He loves us, He demonstrated it through a most dramatic way: JESUS. Then he says that he reconciles all things, in heaven and on earth. God’s kingdom is about reconciling. You could say God’s will is the business of reclaiming and restoring old broken things and making them whole and complete by being with Him. Most importantly this means each of us, His estranged family.

But don’t miss that He said ALL things. What do you think all means? Families, communities, cities, countries, nations? Economics, disease, government, church, prejudice and justice? What does earth look like if these things are reconciled to God? In what way can you help reconcile it?

Our Father in Heaven

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name."

Jesus begins his prayer by acknowledging who it is that he is praying to. Jesus speaks of two important qualities that capture who God is. God is Father and God is holy. Sometimes people fail to see how well these two aspects of God’s character work in tandem, but we will see how they do.

 

God is Father

Have you ever wondered what God was doing before he created everything? If God existed eternally before time or matter even existed, then what was he doing? Kind of hard to think about, but the Bible gives us a little insight into what may have been happening.

In John 17:24 Jesus prays, “Father…you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

God is a loving Father. God is a good Father. He is the best Father we could ever have. Before the creation of the world, God was a loving community between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before the creation of the world, the Father was loving the Son.

 

God is Holy

Sometimes people pray with only God being a loving Father in mind. Jesus is teaching his disciples here that when we pray we are to treat God as the holy one that he is. Yes, he is our Father, but he is also all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere all at the same time (and should be treated as such)!

In Hebrews 5:7 the writer records that, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Whenever we come to prayer, we need to pray with reverence like Jesus did. Too often we are flippant in our prayers, forgetting that we are coming to the creator of the universe and the king of the world!

 

God is a Holy Father

God is with us and for us, but he is so much greater than us – and that’s a good thing. Part of the reason as to why God is a good Father is because he is holy. In our human relationships, our love is conditional. It varies with how we feel or if someone else can meet our needs or if they don’t bug us. God is not like us in that regard. The Father loves us, his children, unconditionally. And he demonstrated that by sending his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross on our behalf!

As you pray, remember that you can come to God as a loving Father, who will never leave you or forsake you. Also remember, however, that God is the King of the Universe and should be respected, revered, and highly esteemed.