“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to the disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (26:41).
Everyone is tempted. Jesus does not say, “Watch and pray so that you will not be tempted.” He says, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Watch and pray so that temptation does not overwhelm you. This is what Jesus teaches us to ask in the Lord’s Prayer. “Father, do not let me be overwhelmed by temptation. Guard me from that by helping me to watch and pray.”
This is a common theme in the Bible. Paul says to Timothy “Keep a close watch on yourself” (1 Tim. 4:16), and he says to the elders at Ephesus, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” (Acts 20:28, NIV). Watch and pray, and Christ will give you strength to prevail in your battle with temptation.
Then Jesus teaches us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” When we pray, “Deliver us,” we are not saying “We can do it.” We are not even saying, “We can do this, we just need a little bit of help.” When we pray, “Deliver us from evil,” we are saying to God, “This power of evil is too great for us, but it is not too great for You.”
Picture a hostage tied to a chair. He is blindfolded and he is locked in a prison. He can’t get out. He needs to be delivered. He needs someone to storm the building and set him free. When we see war, injustice, famine, and disease, Jesus tells us to pray, “Deliver us from evil! Father, come and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”
Will this prayer be answered? Yes, you can be sure of this. The fact that Jesus teaches us to pray, “Deliver us from evil” is your guarantee that this prayer will be answered.
Which of these two prayers do you need to pray today?