13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ (NIV)
The Bible teaches us that God cannot be tempted nor does He tempt. So then, how can Christ teach us to pray to God asking Him not to lead us into temptation? It seems as if Christ is teaching us to pray something that goes against the very nature of God. Why would I need to ask God to do something that His character will not allow Him to do? This can often be a difficult and confusing phrase from Christ as He teaches us to pray.
To understand this passage, we must first remember that God is omniscient. He knows all things. He knows the beginning from the end. He doesn’t remember because He exists outside of time. Instead, He knows all things currently. He never struggles to remember. Every moment that has ever been remains continually before Him with complete clarity.
Those things that we might have forgotten, He knows. The memories too painful for our soul that remain hidden from our conscious thought hang on the walls of His throne room in vivid color. His complete knowledge of our pain allows Him to know better than we do the devil’s most effective traps against our souls. The nature of our pain creates wounds leaving us more susceptible to one trap more than another. Our unique experiences in life will produce a taste for certain profane delicacies that others will not have. They will have their own.
Our ability to not remember some of our pain combined with our lack of knowledge as to the nature and damage done to our soul renders us as helpless as one walking through the dark in a field of bear traps. But out of God’s intimate knowledge of our suffering, He knows how to direct our steps.
When we ask the Lord to lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, we are calling upon Him to take us by the hand in the blindness of our own distress, disappointment, despondency, and grief that would pull us like a magnet to our most vulnerable path. And He leads us in a different way. Before our next step touches down, He turns our direction.
We pray for Him to have compassion on us to speak loudly to our souls to give us discernment to not resist Him as He turns us away from those traps fabricated in Hell specifically for our pain.
Prayer: Lord, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. Amen.