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.