Jesus immediately segues from praying not to be led into temptation, to praying for deliverance from evil. For Jesus, temptation and the Devil go together. What God permits as a trial can quickly be used by Satan as temptation. For instance, Jesus was “led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2). While the Greek text can be translated either “deliver us from evil” or “deliver us from the evil one,” most Bible scholars agree that Jesus is teaching us to pray for deliverance from the Evil One, the Tempter, Satan, the Devil, and great enemy of our souls. The Bible does not think of evil as abstract power or principle, but as a real being warring against God and His kingdom. Theologian Karl Barth notes that with this petition “we are concerned with the great testing, not with evil merely, but with the Evil One.” (Karl Barth, Prayer and Preaching)
We find that in praying for God’s name to be hallowed and for His kingdom to come, we are soon faced with all out frontal attacks by the Evil One and his forces. “The forces of evil do not relinquish their territory without a fight and, in being saved, God’s newly won territory is you…You become a virtual battleground where the living God fights the powers. So praying this prayer is a bit like war.” (Stanley Hauerwas, William Willimon, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life) C. S. Lewis knew whereof he spoke: “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.” (C. S. Lewis, Christian Reflections). We daily need protection from the assaults of the Evil One and his minions.
We feel the urgency of this petition in the warning of the apostle Paul: “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Knowing the struggle that we daily are facing, Paul immediately sounds the battle cry: “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18).
Jesus warned Peter at the Last Supper, “Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat” (Luke 22:31, The Message). Today, as we face attacks from Satan, we ask Father to deliver us from the Evil One.
PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER (MORNING-NOON-NIGHT)