Pastor Craig shared the seventh message in our series on Kingdom Praying. These are the notes he post on his blog as a short recap of the full message. You may also scroll down to get the link to watch the video of the full sermon.
The prayer that Jesus taught His follower is a prayer for citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. These are not just some magical words to pray whenever we don’t know what to pray.
We come to a part of the prayer that has confused some people. Jesus instructed us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).
So some people have asked, “Does God tempt us?”
No, He doesn’t! The temptations flare up when the ungodly desires within us are given an opportunity to seize what we think will make us happy (see James 1:13-15).
All three of the synoptic Gospels tell us that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the place where the devil would tempt Him (Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-2).
Jesus went through all of this so that He would be assured that He was fully equipped for the intense scrutiny He was going to undergo for the next 3+ years. At the end of that time neither the Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate, nor Herod Antipas could find any semblance of sin in His life.
The word Jesus uses for temptation in Matthew 6:13 comes from the root word peirazo, which means to assay. We don’t use that word too often today, but it means a testing, an experiment, or a trial, to prove something’s fidelity, integrity, or virtue.
Just like an assayer would test a rock for the quality and quantity of a precious metal found in it, so we are tested to determine our fitness for what God has in store for us. Remember that the beginning of this prayer is a desire for God’s name to be hallowed and His Kingdom to be made visible through our lives.
Jesus endured His intense time of testing for you and me. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus underwent every temptation we would ever face, without once giving in and sinning. He did all of this so He could be the perfect High Priest that knows how to intercede for us in our time of testing (Hebrews 2:14; 4:15; 2:10, 18; 5:7-9, 4:16).
Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus was perfected (the Greek word is telios), which is exactly what Jesus wants for us—Be prefect [telios] even as your Heavenly Father is perfect [telios] (Matthew 5:48).
In order to know this perfecting process, we have to be tested and assayed (James 1:12, 2-4).
Temptations reveal hidden sins in our lived, and temptations keep us humbly reliant on God (Psalm 19:12; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13; James 4:1-7).
Like all of the other phrases in this prayer, this one is both an acknowledgment (I will face temptations) and a petition (I need Your help to overcome the temptation). This is not necessarily a prayer to keep us from temptation, but to keep us through the temptation. We want to be empowered to pass the test.
A loving teacher prepares us for the test, gives us the test, and then gives us the results so that we know we are prepared for the next level. So remember that this prayer is addressed to our loving Heavenly Father. He prepares us for the test so that we can pass the test. We never walk an unknown path—we never are given a test unless He has fully prepared us for it.
So let me give you four thoughts to consider:
- Don’t rush ahead because that’s pride. Jesus went when the Holy Spirit led Him.
- Don’t lag behind because that’s fear. Think of the Israelites who fearful of the “giants” in the land and wouldn’t move forward.
- Don’t be discouraged by a temporary failure. The phrase immediately before this says, “Forgive us our debts.” If you fall short, ask for forgiveness and move forward again.
- Do give in to the righteousness Jesus has made available for you. This is what will help you stand firm in your time of testing (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Just like Jesus, our Father wants to perfect you and lead you up to higher levels.
If you’ve missed any of the previous messages in this series looking at the model prayer Jesus taught us, you can find them all here.