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Thursday, March 27, 2014


Why did Jesus teach us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” Does God ever lead us into temptation? Doesn’t our fleshly nature and the devil lead us into temptation?

I cannot answer every question this raises. But I do have some thoughts on it.

God does not tempt us. James 1:13 makes that clear. But God does sometimes lead us into situations where we will be tempted. Being tempted does not necessarily mean you are not following God’s leadership in your life. Matthew 4:1 says Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. God did not tempt. He even sent angels to comfort Jesus. But God did lead Him into the desert. God arranged for me to be born in a part of the world where I will face temptations people born say in the upper Amazon will never know, though they face different temptations. Someone who has never seen a TV will not be tempted to watch TV too late at night. People living where there are no roads will not be tempted to break the speed limit.

An example of praying not to be led into temptation. Is found in Proverbs 30:1-9. In verse 2 the writer says he is ignorant and does not understand. This is a good beginning for prayer. In verses 5 and 6 he establishes that scripture is true whether we understand it or not. Finally in verses 7-9 he asks for two things. 1. That lies and falsehood be kept far away from him. And 2. That he would have neither riches or poverty so he would not be tempted.

These last verses give us some perspective here. Would you like to win the lottery? Have you ever prayed for such a thing? With wealth would come many temptations. Can you imagine a teenage girl praying that she would attract an older popular boy? It is hard for her not to desire such things some of the time.

In fact we will face temptations in life no matter how we pray. But this section of the Lord’s prayer sets our hearts in the right direction. I know I will face temptations. But I only want to face them because I am following God for His purposes. Even then I need to see that temptations are dangerous. I don’t want to face them because I desire the things of the world.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Have you noticed that as He prayed on the cross, Jesus prayed scripture? He repeatedly prayed to God in the exact words of Scripture. In fact he prayed so much of the 22nd Psalm that a friend of mine believes He quoted the entire psalm in prayer, and the Gospel writers recorded enough of it for us to understand that. Praying Scripture can be a wonderful practice.

You can memorize a verse and pray it off and on throughout a day. The scripture itself does not have to be a prayer like Psalm 22. You can pray from almost any scripture by praying from the truth opened up in it. “I thank you, Father, that I know all things, even this trial I am facing, work together for good.” (Rom.8:28) “Lord, help me not do what I do to be seen by others.” (Mt.23:5)

However, I think a great way to begin or extend this practice is by praying prayers from the Bible. I have often been thrilled by re-praying the prayer of the believers in Acts 4. “Sovereign Lord. . .” I believe one of the best Bible prayers for us to pray is The Lord’s Prayer itself. Most people already know it by heart. And praying from each thought in the prayer opens great vistas of the character and grace of God. “I thank you, Father, that I am part of a family. You are ‘Our Father’.”
This week I intend to challenge a group, some of whom have not developed a daily quiet time, to pray through The Lord’s Prayer every day for a week. I cannot wait to see what God does in their lives.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Scripture commands us to pray continually. What does that mean? I have heard preachers say, (I have said this myself.) "This means we are to maintain an attitude of prayer.” But I do not think that is a practical way of thinking about prayer. Prayer is communication with God. It is asking Him for something or thanking Him, confessing sin or lavishing praise on His Name. It may even be listening to His still small voice. But it is always more than an attitude.

I recommend an exercise that helps us pray continually. Driving is one of those times when you cannot pray in your closet. I have been suggesting to people that they start trying to pray for the driver and passengers in every other car you meet on the road. This is a good beginning toward praying silently for everyone you see in the grocery store, the bank or at church.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


In The Lord's Prayer Jesus taught us to ask God to deliver us from evil. This request fills much of my prayers. Whether I have just seen a pretty girl at the Y, at the gas station, or at church, or I was just cut off in traffic. I find I need to cry out to the Lord, "Father, sin is at my door. Keep me from falling into it." It seems I am often in situations where I cannot keep from brooding on some wrong done to me. I have to pray something like, "Father, if you do not deliver me, I will say or do something sinful." In those times the enemy tells me I will not be able to resist temptation. But I am often surprised that God does indeed deliver me.

Sometimes I need to ask God to help me see the seriousness of sin so I will not cancel out His leadership when he warns me to avoid an entertaining TV show or some other tempting situation. I regularly need to ask God to deliver me from desiring to please people because of the multiplicity of temptations that leads me into.

“Lord, remind me to pray. You are the only protection I have from turning off into the path of temptation.”

”O Lord, deliver me from evil.”