The Teaching of Jesus on Prayer – Part 5 of 6
Expanded and Adapted From The HOPE Study Guide
If you wanted to learn how to pray, who would you choose for a teacher? In Matthew 6:9-13, you can find a model prayer given to you by Jesus Himself. It was not given simply to recite, but to teach you how to pray. It has been called “the true pattern for all prayer.” Each verse in this prayer identifies an important aspect of prayer. This is part 5 of 6 in our study of the model prayer. Our focus here is verse 13.
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” – Matthew 6:13
The Big Thought – As verse 11 leads you to pray for your physical need, and verse 12 the need of your soul, so verse 13 teaches you to pray for your spiritual need. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds you to “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” But you need not be fearful, for 1 John 4:4 reminds you that “greater is He (The Holy Spirit) who is in you than he (Satan) who is in the world” (descriptions added).
God offers you every spiritual resource you need to defeat the enemy. And as it is with God’s provision for your body and soul, you may also appropriate His spiritual resources through prayer. Notice that in verses 10-13 the pronouns are plural. Pray not only for your needs, but also the needs of others. Praying for others is called intercession. Think about it – many of your friends are even now being stalked by our adversary; some are being held captive by evil spiritual forces. Through prayer, you have the privilege of participating in their rescue!
Digging Deeper – When considered in light of another Bible verse, the phrase “lead us not into temptation” may seem puzzling. James 1:13 reads, “Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted by God: for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” If God does not tempt anyone, then why does Jesus teach us to pray to our Father, “lead us not into temptation”?
The word “temptation” in this verse is translated from the Greek peirasmós, which appears in the New Testament 21 times. Sometimes it is translated as temptation; and other times it is translated as testing, trials or trial. The word literally means, “a putting to proof or to make proof of.” It is very much like what is done in a court of law when an attorney tries to prove a case.
In Matthew 4:1 we read, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” The word for tempted in this verse is derived from the same word as the word for tempted in Matthew 6:13. It has the same meaning. Notice that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, but the Spirit did not do the tempting. The devil did the tempting. To apply the literal definition, “to make proof of,” to this situation, we can understand that the devil was attempting to prove that Jesus was not was not who He claimed to be. God was using this same situation to prove that Jesus was indeed whom He claimed to be – the Son of God, come to do the will of His Father.
From Hebrews 11:17, we know that God tested Abraham. God does test His children, but there is a purpose for His testing. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Testing is for our good, and His glory!
When we pray, “do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we can know that our request is absolutely consistent with His will. Trials and tests will come. Our adversary, the devil, wants to use those situations to tempt us into doing something that is neither good for us, nor brings glory to God. But our Father intends to use those situations to perfect and complete us, so that we may be “lacking in nothing.” And “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).