We all need someone to care for us and watch out for us. Every fighter pilot needs a wing man, someone to fly behind his wing to support and protect him. All police officers needs someone who “has their six”, that person right behind where the officer is most vulnerable to attack. Every person needs someone who has his or her back, ready and willing to support and defend. The first-person-plural “us” stands out again in today’s petition. What a difference it makes for us to pray “Lead US not into temptation,” rather than “Lead ME not into temptation.” We cannot pray today without being reminded that we do not pray as lone individuals, but as members of a worldwide family facing temptation.
The prophet Samuel pledged to King Saul to support and protect him in prayer: “Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). The apostle Paul was keenly aware of the need for concerted prayer, asking, “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me” (Ephesians 6:18-19). We pray for others – family, friends, neighbors, church, community — at the time of peirasmos trial or temptation, that they be strengthened by our Father.
Frank Laubach was a missionary to the Philippines and developer of the “Each One Teach One” literacy program that has taught over 60 million people to read. On Laubach’s 100th birthday the United States Postal Service honored him with a stamp as part of the Great American Series. Laubach sought to pray for everyone he met, believing, “One need not tell God everything about the people for whom one prays. Holding them one by one steadily before the mind and willing that God may have his will with them is the best, for God knows better than we what our friends need, yet our prayer releases his power, we know not how.” (Frank Laubach, Letters by a Modern Mystic)
C. S. Lewis said that he prayed every night for the people he was most tempted to hate, with Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini heading the list. Lewis said that he liked to remember that Christ died for them. (Lewis quoted by Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?) “The purest form of love is given with no expectation of return. Measured by this standard, earnest prayer for others is a magnificent act of love.” (David Hubbard, The Problem with Prayer Is…) Many people we know need a wing man today! Many are needing our prayers so that times of trial lead not to temptation. For US we pray!
PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER (MORNING-NOON-NIGHT)