Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a steady stream of well-known Christian leaders who fall from one sin or another? Seems like it’s always been that way, as long as I can remember. Actually it started longer ago than that. Noah got drunk, Abraham lied about his wife, Moses murdered an Egyptian and David committed adultery then tried to cover it up with murder. Why does God allow such things to happen?
Of course there is no easy answer to that question. He does give us a free will. However I think one reason is that he wants the rest of us to learn from these people so we don’t make the same mistakes ourselves. Life for the Christian is filled with “dangers, toils and snares” as John Newton put it in the hymn “Amazing Grace.”
It should be no surprise, then, that Jesus teaches us to pray against this. “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). “Deliver” is a very strong word. It refers to rescuing or snatching someone from imminent danger. That’s what Jesus wants us to pray for.
The imminent danger is from Satan and his forces. While some translations say, “from evil,” the more correct translation is “from the evil one.” We aren’t praying to be delivered from an abstract idea like evil, but from a real, live personal force that is behind the evil. In the wilderness (Matthew 4) Jesus faced Satan himself, not just some vague principle of wrong-doing. Thus Jesus knows what He is talking about when He tells us to pray for Him to deliver us, snatch us or save us from Satan and his evil schemes against us.
Peter says Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Clearly we are unable to resist this lion who is much more cunning and powerful than us. This prayer is for those who recognize their weakness and inability to resist Satan and his forces on their own but who are dependent on Him and His strength for victory. It is a prayer of humility and faith. “O Lord, don’t let me come to the place where I will give in to temptation. Protect me from the attack of the enemy that would overwhelm me, deliver me from Satan and his forces by your greater power. I can’t make it on your own, I need your help every moment of the day.”
Do you pray that way every day? Pray it now, and repeat it throughout the day even when things seem to be going well. “O Lord, don’t let me come to the place where I will give in to temptation. Protect me from the attack of the enemy that would overwhelm me, deliver me from Satan and his forces by your greater power. I can’t make it on your own, I need your help every moment of the day.”
(Written by Jerry Schmoyer, 2014. You can find more of his writings at http://www.christiantrainingonline.org/. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)