Tag Archives: temptation

An Oft Overlooked Prayer

The question of what we should pray for is an interesting one. I once wrote about asking for “personal, selfish things” and that article seems to have garnered a good bit of interest. But I do think we fall into praying ruts, which is one reason I  pray through the Lord’s Prayer most every day. I try to make it thoughtful, not rote, making each petition my own and seeking the Lord through it.

Our praying ruts can be especially dangerous if they leave out a prayer that Jesus teaches us to pray in His famous prayer: “Lead us not into temptation.” And it’s interesting that the Lord tells his disciples to especially pray this prayer as the hour or trial came upon them:

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:39-40 (ESV)

It was such a significant prayer that Jesus reiterated it a little later, when he found the boys dozing:

And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46 (ESV)

Jesus knew that a very difficult hour was coming upon them, and therefore He knew what they needed to be praying for, help in keeping their commitment to Him and to His cause. “Lord, keep us from temptation and sin!” And we can surmise why the Lord kept reminding His disciples to pray this way: wasn’t it this basic prayer that Jesus Himself prayed as He sweat great drops of blood in the Garden? “Not My will, but Thine be done.”

It’s a good lesson for you and me. What is the temptation that you struggle with? Is it a sharp temper toward your little ones when you come home at the end of a hard day? Then let that car ride home be a time that you pray not to enter into temptation. Is it the “all-you-can-eat” buffet that the gang from work is heading to tomorrow? Pray today for strength tomorrow to order a salad off the menu.

This kind of prayer is powerful. And if I’m not mistaken, we often overlook it. So take some time and think through your particular struggles, and ask the Lord to keep you from temptation.

The Father graciously answered His Son, to our eternal benefit, and He will come to our aid as well.

For tomorrow, Friday, July 31st: Luke 23


Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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One Secret to Overcoming Temptation

I have a friend who has taken some weight off and as far as I can tell, kept it off. She attests that when she has been tempted on a diet, her answer has been to say to herself, “I will eat that again – I just won’t be eating it now.” Aha. That’s good. And I believe it is one of the great secrets to overcoming temptation.

People have been asking how to overcome temptation for thousands of years, and Jesus’ classic battle with Satan in the wilderness provides some clues as to the answer. We know, for instance, that we must use the Word of God. Jesus fought the enemy with this powerful weapon, and we should too.

But what else? Well, I think there are some interesting clues in this chapter, and we should be careful to take note. Here’s what I mean: to oversimplify it, Satan’s temptations to Jesus included eating bread, counting on angels to rescue him, and ruling the world (fame and fortune, so to speak). And I believe that after Jesus successfully resists the enemy, he is granted each of these as a gift from God, and in a brief period of time after the great battle.

There is no mention of bread, of course, but we know he ate that again. But what about the other two? Well, consider verse 11…

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

– Matthew 4:11 (ESV)

So He avoided the sin of testing God and he didn’t throw himself off the cliff to be rescued by angels ala Psalm 91. But, do you see that in the end, the angels did come to His rescue? They came and ministered to Him. I don’t think it’s a coincidence when Matthew brings up these angels at the end of the temptation.

And of course, as to ruling the world, well, we know that’s coming eventually, and it will come to Jesus without worshiping Satan. But at the end of the chapter, God the Father gives His Son a glimpse of the worship that will appropriately one day be His:

So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan

– Matthew 4:24, 25 (ESV)

The application? Not everything you resist will be yours, of course, but many things we resist will in the end be granted to us, perhaps in a slightly different form but granted nonetheless, and done so…God’s way.  And God’s way is always far better than the way of the enemy.

Now, on with those New Year’s diet resolutions: “I’ll be eating that later.” Got to remember to tell myself that.

Tomorrow: January 7, Matthew 5


Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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