Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: It Helps to Know Where the Evil Is Coming From
"but deliver us from evil." (Matt. 6:13b)
We are nearing the end of this series on the Lord's Prayer. Last week, we learned about how to avoid evil by praying through the Ten Commandments. For past articles in the Lord's Prayer series, click HERE.
In various parts of the Bible, the believer is encouraged to be aware of three different sources of evil. (1 John 2:15-18; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 6:10-18) The fact that this sentence "deliver us from evil" is a part of this very short list of prayer topics and spiritual exercises tells us that we need to be vigilant about where evil could come from in our lives. Let's discuss each of these to get a better understanding of what we are dealing with.
First, the world systems, institutions, and cultures that promote certain interests at the expense of certain individuals or groups. The world system in every age wants you to put personal comfort and personal gain above God's values of justice, lovingkindness, and righteousness.
Second, the selfish impulses that arise within us that push for our gain at the expense of others. There is within all of us a natural selfishness that wants more for us, and if others have less, then that is too bad for them. This tendency for selfishness can be quite evil and can permit monstrous things to occur as long as we get ours. This is the source of corruption and injustice in every city.
The third source of evil is the Devil and his demons, who promote various schemes and temptations that promise your gain at the expense of others. The Devil is only too willing to promise all types of rewards and benefits if you will allow or participate in damaging or destroying others.
We need to pray through these three sources of evil. Jesus tells us to enter into a back and forth discussion with God about the presence of evil in your life. In this world, evil is a present reality. Evil does want to destroy your potential. It does want to use you to harm others. It does want to imprison you so that you are unable to be the blessing and benefit to others you could be. Use questions like the following to begin the discussion with God about deliverance from evil.
Lord, I know that evil will always seek to get a hold on my life. In what ways am I being positioned toward evil? Please protect me and show me what I must do to strengthen your deliverance and protection. What is the source of the evil I am currently facing?
Lord, show me how the world is trying to tempt me to evil. How is the lust of the world, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life seeking to trick me into getting out of God's will and participating in something that will harm others? (1 John 2:15-18)
Lord, show me how my flesh is trying to tempt me to evil. How is my own sinful nature trying to seduce me into selfishness at a level that I become harmful to God or others? Am I being tempted to immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, or carousing?
Lord, show me how the Devil and his demons are trying to tempt me or move me to evil. Is it through desire, fear, opposition, slander, spiritual power, anger, ego, perversion? These are the major schemes of the Devil.
Lord, show me the opportunities and possibilities that might lead me to harming others.
Lord, show me the evil that is just around the corner seeking to do me harm.
Lord, what do I need to do or ask you for that will deliver me from the evil that I could fall victim to?
Lord, in what ways am I being set up to make it easier to compromise my values at some point down the road?
One of the things that this phrase in the Lord's Prayer suggests is that God wants to engage with you about a subject that most people want to hide from Him. God says, "Let's talk about everything in your life and especially the evil." Are you having a discussion with God about the evil that is being presented to you? Are you having a discussion with God about escaping the evil that is coming at you? Are you listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit on how to be delivered from the evil that is seeking to do you harm? Begin praying to God about these things right now and see how your mind lights up with the discussion.
Next week, I will help us understand how to overcome evil that the devil throws at us. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
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