You’re probably familiar with The Lord’s Prayer. It’s a passage of Scripture many believers (and even non-believers) know and recognize.
But there’s a key part I think many people don’t understand. Let’s go through the prayer together, beginning in Matthew 6:9 (KJV) …
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever.
I really want to focus on verse 13: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
A Misunderstood Phrase
For many years of my Christian walk, I didn’t understand this sentence. Why would we ever pray for God not to lead us into temptation if He wouldn’t lead us into temptation in the first place? It doesn’t make sense!
Well, first we have to understand the word temptation because it’s actually translated differently throughout the New Testament.
James 1:2–3 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (Emphasis added).
This word trials is the exact same Greek word in Matthew 6:13 that’s translated temptation. So you can see already this word has a broader meaning than what we understand—and it not only means temptation but also a trial or test.
So, let me ask you a different question: Would God ever lead us into a trial or a test? Yes, He would! And here’s why …
Because the trying of our faith
causes us to grow and develop character
in order to fulfill the destiny He has for us.
You need to understand something. God would only do this for your good. He would never set you up for failure. But the tempter may be there and will try to tempt you in that trial. This is why in The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is telling us to pray for protection.
As a matter of fact, just look at this Scripture, Matthew 4:1—”Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Who led Jesus? The Spirit.
Where did He lead Him? Into the wilderness.
Why did He lead Him there? To be tempted by the devil.
What this means is that God led His own Son into a time of trial and testing, knowing Satan would be there. Why would God do this?
The first reason is that He did it for the good of His Son. Luke 4:14 says, “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.” He came out stronger after He went through the testing and trial.
But here’s the main reason God did it: for our good.
God didn’t lead Jesus into the wilderness to fail. He led Him in to succeed. He knew He would succeed. And He knew His success would be a benefit to us all.
Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
And Hebrews 2:18 declares, “For in that He himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
Friend, did you know that Jesus can help you through temptation? Do you know why? Because He went through it!
Jesus Empathizes with You
Have you ever thought about asking Jesus how to overcome lust?
We somehow don’t think about that, but realize that Jesus was tempted with lust. He was tempted with pride. He was tempted with unforgiveness. He was tempted in all the same ways we are, and because He was tempted, He can now aid us. He sympathizes with us.
And that’s what’s so great about Jesus! It’s not like we go to Him and say, “Lord, I’m being tempted again.” Then He responds, “You baby! What’s wrong with you? Straighten up.”
No! You know what He says? “I understand! I know what it’s like to live in a fallen world. I understand what it’s like to be tempted. I understand!”
God will never allow you
to be tempted above
that which you’re able.
Yet most of the time, we don’t want to tell Jesus about our struggles. We think, If I don’t tell Him, He won’t know. But He knows! He understands, and He is ready to help—because you have a High Priest who sympathizes with you.
So never forget that God will always deliver you from temptation if you will allow Him to. 1 Corinthians 10:13 encourages us, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.”
Two of the greatest promises in Scripture are found in that verse. First, God will never allow you to be tempted above that which you’re able. And second, He will, with every temptation, make a way of escape.
In other words, God will deliver you if you will let Him.
Paul said it this way: “I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:17–18).
Or look at 2 Peter 2:9, which says, “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations.”
But you have a part to play. It’s simple yet incredibly powerful, and it’s the reason I wrote this message.
Your Part Is to Pray
This is what Jesus was trying to tell us when the disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” He replied, “In this manner, therefore, pray …” He went on to tell us some things to pray about. And one of the things that we are to pray about is protection and success over the attacks of the enemy every day.
Let me close with a personal story.
A few years after we started Gateway Church, a friend of mine asked me, “What has shocked you the most about planting a church?” I said to him, “The warfare.” You see, Satan hates local churches, and I was not prepared for the amount of warfare that I’ve encountered.
During the very first vacation my family ever took after planting the church, we had two near head-on collisions. My son James almost drowned while whitewater rafting. Then when we got back, Debbie and I were riding bicycles with our daughter Elaine. Elaine and I decided to race home, and we were going very fast.
We still don’t know to this day what happened, but all of a sudden, my wheel just turned sideways, and I hit the pavement. I should have been wearing a helmet, but I wasn’t. I was knocked unconscious with many broken bones.
One of our pastor friends in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, when he heard about it, told me later, “Robert, I was praying for you that morning. I saw you riding a bike.” And he said, “It was just shocking to me because you were going along riding a bike, and a lion came from the side and knocked the bike out from under you.” He said, “You are going to have to up your prayer life because you’re under attack.”
Remember, trials and temptation may come.
But God’s promises remain. He will be with you.
So Debbie and I prayed. We said, “God, what do we do?” And the Lord gave us the idea of asking some people who were close to us to become intercessors for us.
Then a few months later I thought, Well, if I need prayer, all of our pastors need prayer! So it’s actually Gateway Church policy now that if you’re a pastor on our staff, you have to have intercessors praying for you.
I share this with you not so that you can have others pray for you so you don’t have to. I share it because I’m a disciple, and so are you.
And Jesus is telling us, “When you pray, make sure and include this in your prayers: ‘Lead me not into temptation. Help me not to be tempted when I’m going through the trials. Even the ones that You lead me into, Lord. And deliver me and protect me and my family from the evil one.'”
And here’s the best part: God will deliver you!
So, I want to make a special resource available to you this month to help you in your prayer life. It’s called The Lord’s Prayer and is a seven-message resource where I teach about each phrase of The Lord’s Prayer, sharing what Jesus was trying to show us when He spoke it.
We’ll send it to you today with your gift of any amount to support the outreaches of The Blessed Life.
I look forward to you receiving this resource and, with your gift of $65 or more, you’ll additionally receive The Lord’s Prayer on DVD and the Gateway Worship music CD Conversations with God. For your gift of $135 or more, you’ll receive the Prayer Warrior Collection—The Lord’s Prayer CD and DVD, the music CD, and the Spiritual Warfare Bible. I believe this collection will be a blessing for you and those you love.
Thank you for your support of this ministry.
Remember, trials and temptation may come. But God’s promises remain. He will be with you. You will not be tempted beyond what you are able. And as you pray, He will protect you and deliver you!