The next-to-last phrase in the Lord’s prayer is a petition for protection from Satan: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Is such a prayer necessary? Would God ever lead us into temptation? James 1:13 says, “When people are tempted they should not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone.” If God does not tempt us, then why pray, “Lead us not into temptation”? These words trouble the most sophisticated theologian.
But they don’t trouble a child. And this is a prayer for the child-like heart. This is a prayer for those who look upon God as their Abba. This is a prayer for those who have already talked to their Father about provision for today (“Give us our daily bread.”) and pardon for yesterday (“Forgive us our debts.”). Now the child needs assurance about protection for tomorrow.
The phrase is best understood with a simple illustration. Imagine a father and son walking down an icy street. The father cautions the boy to be careful, but the boy is too excited to slow down. He hits the first patch of ice. Up go the feet and down plops the bottom. Dad comes along and helps him to his feet. The boy apologizes for disregarding the warning and then, tightly holding his father’s big hand, he asks, “Keep me from the slippery spots. Don’t let me fall again.”
The Father is so willing to comply. “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Ps. 37:23–24 TLB). Such is the heart of this petition. It’s a tender request of a child to a father. The last few slips have taught us—the walk is too treacherous to make alone. So we place our small hand in his large one and say, “Please, Abba, keep me from evil.”
by Max Lucado
Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 (New Living Translation)
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23 (New International Version)
Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Proverbs 4:23 (The Message)
Pride ends in humiliation,
while humility brings honor.
Proverbs 29:23 (New Living Translation)
A man’s pride brings him low,
but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.
Proverbs 29:23 (New International Version)
Pride lands you flat on your face;
humility prepares you for honors.
Proverbs 29:23 (The Message)
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (New Living Translation)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (New International Version)
Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (The Message)
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything.
Ephesians 4:15 (The Message)
Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 (New King James Version)
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Ephesians 4:15 (New Living Translation)
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
Ephesians 4:2 (New Living Translation)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 (New International Version)
And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
Ephesians 4:2 (The Message)
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
Philippians 2:6-7 (New Living Translation)
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
Philippians 2:6-7 (New International Version)
He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges.
Philippians 2:6-7 (The Message)