Learning to Pray the Jesus Way (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 6: On Temptation & Evil

Learning to Pray the Jesus Way Blog Series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Learning to pray is a foundational discipline of the Christian faith.  In this blog post series on prayer, author Summer Lacy gives us insight into the practice of prayer using the model Jesus taught His own disciples--The Lord’s Prayer.  This simple, unassuming prayer Jesus gave us lays the foundation for a fulfilling life of prayer.

The human condition is fraught with all manner of frailties and dependencies. 

Chances are you’ve lived enough life to know this to be true.  I, for one, can barely stumble from my bed to the bathroom during the middle of the night without stubbing my toe, let alone successfully maneuver my way through life unscathed. 

In Part 1 of this series, we discovered that this inescapable fact of the human condition establishes our need for prayer.  

Because we are frail, because we are dependent, because we need, God gave us prayer. 

Prayer is the means through which God answers our deepest need.  Our need for Him.  

In The Lord's Prayer, Jesus, recognizing the many ways in which we are dependent on God, draws our attention to who God is to us.  And it just so happens that who He is coincides beautifully with what we need.  

Read the first four verses of Jesus' prayer with this in mind.  Look specifically for who Jesus reveals God to be in light of our frailties, dependencies, and needs.

Matthew 6
9Our 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 and forgive us our debts, 
as we also have forgiven our debtors…

Although the answers may not immediately jump out to you, sit with the text long enough, and here’s a bit of what you’re likely to discover: 

As humans we are desperately dependent on God 

as our Father  {v.9}, 

as our King  {v.10}, 

as our Provider  {v.11}, 

and as our Savior  {v.12}.  

And now in the last verse of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus introduces to us God as our Protector.  

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:13

Protector.  Because it is part of who He is, it must be something that we desperately need.  

Before we go into any more detail, there are two extremes I want you to be cautious of as we approach the last verse of The Lord’s Prayer.  

First, we don’t want to overemphasize the importance of this topic.  

In part 2 of this series I explained the significance of Jesus beginning His prayer by introducing God to us as our Father.  By doing that first, He was illustrating the fact that knowing God as our Father is of primary importance. 

So here, I believe it is worthy to note that the evil one is not what Jesus begins with.  Therefore, he is not of primary importance.  The evil one should never be our focus.  

Understanding that this topic is worthy of our attention, but not ultimately where our attention should be, goes a long way in correctly orienting us to the discussion at hand.  

Second, we don’t want to underemphasize the significance of the evil one.

Just as we must be careful not to elevate this topic to primary importance, we must also be sure to clearly understand exactly how important it is.  Scripture has much to say about the spiritual realities we contend with in a fallen world.  We should not remain ignorant to the reality of spiritual warfare or our responsibilities in the battle.

So by all means, let us learn and study what the Word of God has revealed to us about this topic, but let us remain on guard as we do so.  

May the difficult nature of this topic not cause us to stumble, or fear, or take our eyes off the Lord.  May His power, His glory, and His goodness remain our focus--even as we discuss the one who stands against Him.  

The Evil One

What does the Bible teach us about the evil one?

First.  He actually exists.  Take a look at what Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17:15,

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

Jesus prayed that prayer only moments before He was betrayed by Judas and arrested by the Roman soldiers.  He was well aware of His enemy at all times, and we should be too.

The “evil one”  is known by two names in Scripture.  

Satan:  meaning adversary, or one who resists

The devil:  meaning slanderer, or one who is a false accuser

His power is great.  We should not underestimate it.  

1 John 5:19 tells us, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
Ephesians 6:11 instructs us that in order to stand against the schemes of the devil we mustput on the whole armor of God.”   

Here’s just a small glimpse of what Scripture reveals about character and work of Satan.

  • He is a liar and deceiver (John 8:44, Revelation 20:7-8)
  • He is a thief (Mark 4:14-15)
  • He is a murderer (John 8:44)
  • He is a destroyer (Revelation 9:11)
  • He is the tempter (Genesis 3:13, Matthew 4:1-11)
  • He is our accuser (Revelation 12:10-11)
  • He is the author of sin (Genesis 3:1-6)
  • He is the author of sickness (Acts 10:38, Luke 13:16)
  • He is the author of death (Hebrews 2:14)
  • He lays traps for us (1 Timothy 3:7, 2 Timothy 2:26)
  • He puts wicked purposes into the hearts of men (Acts 5:3, John 13:2)
  • He blinds the minds of the unbelieving from the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4)
  • He shakes and sifts Christ’s disciples (Luke 2:31)

He has already been defeated.

So, let’s recap. 

  1. Satan is real.
  2. Satan has great power.
  3. Satan has lost.

And that third point is what we need to understand to keep our perspective in check.  Because while Scripture makes no bones about Satan being real and powerful, it makes equally clear that there is an end to his reach.  

Satan has already been defeated, having received his final death blow at the cross of Christ, where, Colossians 2:15 says that God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, triumphing over them in him.”

Through Christ, Satan has been defeated, and we have been delivered.  This is the hope upon which we stand.

Satan’s existence, power, and activity should make us watchful (Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8), but it should never make us fearful (God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7).

Our lives are to be spent watching--yes, for Satan and his snares and schemes.  But even more so we should be watching, waiting, and putting our hope in the Lord.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
 and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

And with that line--lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one--Jesus closes the Lord’s prayer, having taught that we serve a God who meets all our greatest needs.  

He is:

a Father who loves

a King who rules

a Provider who gives

a Savior whose grace redeems

and a Protector who delivers us from the powers of darkness.

For His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. 

Amen.

Learning to Pray the Jesus Way Blog Series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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Summer Lacy

Summer is the wife of Chris and mama to 3 wild boys - Cole (7), Jacob (5), and Joshua Paul (4). Convinced of the ability of God’s word to meet each of us right where we are, no matter where we are, Summer has a passion for sharing the unending beauty of Scripture with women in all stages and phases of life.  She is a Bible-study writer and teacher.  

Summer and her family live outside of Houston in Kingwood, Texas and call Church Project home.