The Lord's Prayer, Part 3Pray or Fall Prey
Nancy: Bobby Leach was a circus stunt man and a daredevil who lived in England in the early 1900s. He successfully survived many dangerous feats, including going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
He survived that and all kinds of other daredevil feats. Then, some years later, he was walking down the street, slipped on an orange peel, and was taken to the hospital with a badly fractured leg.
The leg became infected. He had to have it amputated, and two months later, he died in the hospital—after surviving all these other things he’d done throughout his career as a daredevil!
When I read that story, I thought, “You know, that’s a picture of life in some ways.” Sometimes you survive the big temptations—things like Niagara Falls that you know are dangerous; and then, in a careless moment, when we’re not watching, we’re not being careful, a seemingly little thing can cause our downfall.
Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, November 19.
As Nancy continues in the series, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3, she’ll show why we always need to be on guard. Falling for temptation can be like a stunt man encountering an orange peel.
Nancy: That’s just a reminder that we never get to the place where we don’t need God’s protection from sin—never. Hence the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” or, “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).
By the way, which is it: evil or evil one? Well, the commentators basically don’t know. I think it’s both—it’s anything that is evil, any kind of evil, that’s in view here: the evil within our own hearts, the evil in the world, and Satan, who is the author of evil.
So we pray first that we will not be tempted. “Lead us not into temptation.” Then, if God does permit us to be tempted, that we will be delivered from sin and from the evil one.
Some of you are familiar with what’s been called the Prayer of Jabez, from 1 Chronicles 4. Jabez prayed four petitions, four requests, in that prayer. But the one that relates so directly to what we’re talking about here is when he said, “Oh [God] . . . that you would keep me from [evil] so that it might not bring me pain!” (verse 10).
And then I love that next phrase: “And God granted what he asked.” I wonder how many of us fall into evil, and it causes others and us great pain because we never asked God to deliver us from evil—we didn’t pray.
We didn’t say, “Lord, I can’t do this without You. I need You. Help me. Help me make right choices. Help me not to make little compromises. Oh, God, that You would keep me from evil, so that it might not bring me pain.”
That is one of the most frequent desires in prayer requests of my own heart: “Lord, guard my heart. Keep me from evil. Keep me from sin.”
The psalmist prayed it this way in Psalm 119:133, “Let no iniquity get dominion over me.” Is that the prayer of your heart? “Lord, I don’t want any sin to have dominion over my life.”
That word deliver, as in “deliver us from the evil one,” is a strong word. It means “to draw with force and violence, to drag, pull.” It talks about delivering or drawing something or someone out of danger or calamity to liberate.
We need deliverance from evil and from the evil one not just once—not just when we’re teenagers, adolescents, early marrieds—but again and again and again, all through life.
You say, “Do you ever get to a point where you don’t need to pray this prayer?” Well, ask someone. Miss Dorothy, you just turned 81. Do you ever get to a point where you don’t need to pray this prayer?
I’ve heard elderly people talk about battles with temptations, battles with sinful desires. Now,the more you love Christ and the more you grow in your relationship with Him, the more you will be protected from those desires. But as long as we’re in this flesh, as long as we’re in this world, as long as there’s a devil who is still loose, there will be a need to pray this prayer.
Remember when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for those 40 days? Luke’s account (4:13) tells us that “When the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from [Jesus]” . . . and the sentence doesn’t end there.
“He departed from him until an opportune time.” We think of Jesus’ temptation, and we just think of those 40 days. It’s not just those 40 days. That was pretty intense, but He got through the temptation, and then He went into His earthly life and ministry.
But I think we assume that He was never tempted again; but He was tempted again. Satan left Him for a while, “until an opportune time.” When was the opportune time? I don’t know, but we know for sure that when He got to the Garden of Gethsemane that Satan came at Him again, and maybe all through His earthly life and ministry.
Not until Satan is banished forever to the pit will he cease his efforts to war against the saints. By the way, he has a vested interest in taking you down if you’re a child of God, because every time a child of God sins, it brings a blot, a mar, a reproach to the name of God, and it causes the enemies of God to laugh, to scoff, to perpetuate their unbelief.
There’s never a time this side of heaven when we can afford to let down our guard or to be less than vigilant in our battle against evil and the evil one. And don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t need this.
Don’t think your pastor doesn’t need to pray this. Don’t think that some Christian leader you know is so godly that they wouldn’t need to pray this.
“Yes, you struggle with sin, you need to be delivered from the evil one, but surely they don’t have those desires!”
Listen, you don’t live with me. You don’t live in my heart. You don’t know the times, sometimes while I’m actually sitting and studying the Word, preparing to teach Revive Our Hearts . . .
One instance comes to mind, one particular night not too long ago when, I’m telling you, there was such a bombardment in my thoughts and my mind! I wasn’t tempted that moment to go out and have an affair, commit adultery, rob a bank; I mean, I wasn’t being tempted to sin in any kind of egregious, overt way, but I was just bombarded with multiple temptations to doubt God, to doubt my calling, to dishonor God in my responses.
I was so conscious that I am in a battle, while I’m studying God’s Word preparing to teach this to other women! Don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t need to pray repeatedly, “Deliver us from the evil one.” Until we are delivered from this body of sin and from the very presence of sin as we’re in heaven in the presence of Christ, we will never be immune to temptation or to the potential for falling.
We are never invincible apart from God’s wonderful, keeping grace and power. That’s why Paul said what he did to the Corinthians as he reflected back on the Israelites and some ways that they sinned. We read the story, and we think, “How could they do that? Why did they act like that?”
Paul says, to any one of you who thinks he’s above this—you think you’re beyond this? You think you wouldn’t sin in these ways? “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
And then he goes right on to say, two verses later, “Beloved [Christians], flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).
Those Old Testament saints were idolaters. And we say, “How did they worship all of those idols? Why did they do that?”
He says, “You flee from idolatry. Your heart is just as susceptible, just as vulnerable to become an idol worshiper. Your idols may look different than theirs, but run from idolatry.”
If you think you’re not a candidate for idolatry and any other kind of sin he discusses in that passage—there are several different ones—you think you’re not a candidate? You had better watch out, because you’re more a candidate to fall if you think you’re standing.
Never think, never say, “That won’t happen to me. I won’t be tempted in that area. I can make that choice. I can get close to this. I can get off to the side of the road here, and I’m not going to be tempted in that area.”
Don’t think that about any sin! We need to recognize our own weakness. I’m going to ask you to turn in your Bible to Luke 22. I want you to see this progression here of temptation and the means that God has made to deal with it—how we get delivered from the evil one.
Beginning in verse 31, Jesus tells Peter that he’s going to be sifted by Satan—that he’s going to be tempted to deny Christ. Then in verse 33, “Peter said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.’”
What is Peter saying? “Lord, I won’t deny You.” Jesus had just finished telling Peter, “Satan is going to sift you. He is going to try you, and you are going to be tempted to deny Me.” But Peter says, “Not me. I’m ready to go with You to prison and to death.”
At that point he becomes vulnerable, because he doesn’t recognize his own weakness. He thinks, “I’m not going to fall there.”
Now, Peter’s not just being arrogant. I think he really thought . . . it is arrogant, but I think he really thought that, and I think sometimes we really think that about some areas.
“I can play with this; I can toy with that; I can send that email to that person. I’m not going to end up getting emotionally attached.” Ladies, we don’t know our own hearts if we think that.
Verse 34, “Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.’”
“Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Protection from sin requires constant dependence on Christ, constant looking to Christ, constantly asking Him to keep us from falling. There is no one who is immune from falling into the worst sins imaginable apart from God’s preserving grace.
As we continue in this passage in Luke, we see that prayer is a key weapon in our warfare against sin and Satan. We’re studying the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from the evil one.”
Jesus prays for us. We see that in John 17:15, where Jesus said to God, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (NIV).
Jesus prays for us. He prayed, “God, protect us them from the evil one.” Prayer is a weapon in that warfare. Jesus said to Peter, here in Luke 22:31-32, “Satan demanded to have you . . . but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”
We need to pray this way for ourselves, and we see that illustrated here in Luke chapter 22. Peter has said, “I’m ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus has said, “You will deny Me.”
Then two paragraphs later, Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives. Look at verse 40: “And when he came to the place, he said to [the disciples], ‘Pray.’” Now, He’s already told Peter, “I have prayed for you.”
He’s saying now, “You pray for yourselves. Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Verse 41, “And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed.”
Jesus prayed for them. He told them to pray. He knew there was a battle with Satan going on that night. Then Jesus went and knelt down and prayed.
Then look at verse 45: “And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them” . . . praying? What did He find them doing? “. . . sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, 'Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray'” (verse 46).
Before He left them, He said, “Pray.” When He came back, He said, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” is something we need to be praying all the time.
Now, look at the contrast in this scene between Jesus and the disciples. Jesus—under fire of the moment as Satan was trying to kill the whole plan of redemption—remained watchful and prayerful. He prayed.
You think He wasn’t tired? You think He wasn’t sorrowful? He was a man. He had the same emotions, the same physical needs; but He stayed watchful and prayerful, and in the battle He overcame the evil one and was strengthened to do the will of God, as hard as it was.
The disciples, on the other hand, slept when they needed to be praying. And what happened? They soon fell into temptation because they were not watchful and prayerful. They did fall into temptation.
So let me say to you, you need a lifestyle—not just praying the Lord’s Prayer in church when they happen to be saying it out loud together. By the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s a prayer we ought to pray more often, even corporately.
But this is a prayer that should be our breath and our life and in our consciousness all the time. Learning to cry out to Him—cry out to Him before you’re tempted, “Lord, don’t lead me into a place where I might be tempted to sin against You, or I might be tempted beyond my ability to handle it.”
Pray before you’re tempted. Pray when you’re in the middle of being tempted.
Now, when we’re in the middle of being tempted, sometimes the last thing we think about is praying. More, we’re thinking about that thing we want, that person we want, that relationship we want. But that’s where we need to discipline our minds and hearts to be praying without ceasing, “Lord, deliver us from the evil one.”
Pray before you get tempted. Pray when you’re in the middle of temptation. And praywhen you fall prey to the temptation. When you fall into it and you make the wrong choice, pray then.
Sometimes that’s a hard time to pray because we feel so bad. We feel so guilty. We feel like, “I blew it.”
We did blow it. That’s the time to pray, “Lord, deliver me from the evil one. He got a hook in my heart. He got a foothold in my life, but I am Your child, and I want to be restored. I want to be right with You.”
I want to tell you, the child of God who is not praying for deliverance from the evil one is vulnerable to fall prey to the evil one. P-R-A-Y or be P-R-E-Y. Pray to be delivered from the evil one, or you will fall prey to the evil one.
Prayer is key to protection from temptation, not only for ourselves but also for those we love and for the body of Christ collectively.
We’ve talked repeatedly in this series about the corporate aspect or dimension of this prayer, all the plural pronouns. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil and the evil one.”
This prayer reaches beyond me and my needs and my struggles, and it reaches out to embrace others. We’re called to pray for spiritual protection for others in the body.
When one person in your family or in the body of Christ in your church—when one person falls into temptation or into the clutches of the evil one, we’re all affected, and the cause of Christ is affected.
Now, when we observe sin in another believer’s life, what’s the natural tendency? To point it out, to tell someone else about it, to criticize it. But according to 1 John 5:16, when we see a brother or sister committing sin, do you know what we’re supposed to do first? Pray for them.
Then there’s a time to go to them, to deal with them; but pray for them. I believe that interceding for one another is a huge component in the whole process of our being delivered from sin.
I need people praying for me to be delivered from my sins and from the evil one. They need me praying for them. My family needs me to pray for them. Our ministry, our team needs me to pray for them, and I need them to pray for me.
I need our listeners to pray for me, and I pray for our listeners. “Lord, protect us, deliver us from the evil one.”
This is saying that we have a mutual responsibility to and for each other. Ladies, this is a family prayer. We’re in this together. We need to be praying this for each other.
I want to go so far as to say of other believers that are in our circle, our sphere of influence: If they continue to be in bondage to sin, and those of us who see the issue have not been faithful to pray for them, we bear at least a measure of responsibility for their condition.
Did you get that? We’re responsible for each other. I am so grateful for those who pray for me, those who are praying for me today as I teach and those who will be praying for me after I’m done teaching.
They know I’m facing “the battle after the battle,” and they’re going to hold me up and say, “Lord, I know she’s more vulnerable. She’s poured herself out; she’s tired; would You protect her from the evil one?”
I need those people. You need them. We need each other.
I got a note from a Revive Our Hearts listener not too long ago. This is someone I didn’t know at all. She said,
I have to share this with you. Three days in a row the Lord has asked me to pray for you. I pray for protection from any spiritual attacks that Satan might be giving you. I pray that the armor of God protect you from all the poison arrows of the evil one. . . . Remember, the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. Amen!
I’m strengthened by that. I’m strengthened by the words of that email, but I’m strengthened even more by the fact that she’s praying.
There are so many who are praying, and I don’t know it. They don’t write a letter to tell me, but God knows. God is hearing, and I wonder how many times I have been protected from falling into sin because someone else has been praying for me.
- Do you pray for the body of Christ to be pure, to be victorious over the evil one?
- Are you praying for your mate,
- for your children,
- for your friends,
- for your co-worker?
- Do you pray this for your pastor?
- Do you pray this for other Christian leaders?
Most of us have lived long enough to see some well-known Christian leaders bite the dust. We’ve seen them crater morally and spiritually, and everybody says, “Oh, what a shame! It’s so horrible!”
It is a shame. It is horrible. It’s tragic. But I wonder how much of that might not have happened if we had been faithful in praying for each other.
I wonder how many people around you may still be caught in sinful patterns, or may be this moment vulnerable to temptation because you haven’t interceded before God on their behalf.
Pray for your husband, wherever he is today. Say he works at a Christian ministry. He’s a godly man. Well, praise the Lord; that’s a blessing. But you’ve got to pray that he will be kept from the evil one. “Lord, protect him. Deliver him from the evil one.” Satan is working.
Your children as they go to school; as some of your children are in college and they’re being exposed to new kinds of temptation—even if you can’t imagine what they’re being exposed to, you need to pray, “Lord, lead us not into temptation. Deliver us, deliver me, deliver my mate, deliver my children, deliver my parents, deliver my pastor, deliver Nancy.”
Pray for me while you’re thinking about it. “Deliver us from the evil one.”
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. She’s been talking about the most important issue in life. All of us need to stop and remember the great news of the gospel, whether we’ve heard it a hundred times or for the first time.
If you want to grow in your understanding of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and freedom, I hope you’ll get a copy of this teaching on CD. The series is called The Lord’s Prayer, and we presented it in three installments on the air.
You can order our current installment, or the entire series on CD. This series would make a great topic for your personal Bible study time. Listen to the CDs, study along with Nancy ,and then pray based on what you heard. To order The Lord’s Prayer visit ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also call 1-800-569-5959.
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It’s an email that accompanies the topic of each day’s program. You’ll get highlights from Nancy’s teaching in the key quotes section of the email, and you’ll also find out about the special offers I usually tell you about. You can use the Quick Links to find out more about the teaching or the special offers. To sign-up for the Revive Our Hearts Daily Connection, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.
What if God were to forgive you the same way you forgive everyone else? Does that thought make you nervous? Discover the power of forgiveness tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. Now let’s join Nancy to wrap up the program.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Would you pray with me? Thank You, Lord, that You’re here and You answer those prayers. May we be faithful in lifting up one another and crying out to You before we fall into temptation, and when we’re in the throes of the temptation.
Even after we’ve blown it, when we’ve fallen into temptation, help us to cry out to You. “Oh, God, deliver us from the evil one.” For Jesus’ sake I pray it, amen.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.