Lead Us Not Into Temptation
Lord, as Your disciples in the Bible asked, so do I ask now that You teach me to pray (Luke 11:1).
Read Psalm 141:1-10
 A psalm of David.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The secret to prayer is secret prayer” (Hank Hanegraaff).That’s what Jesus said (Matt. 6:6).
The picture this psalm gives is of the psalmist alone in a quiet place, perhaps in the evening at the time of the evening sacrifice (2), knowing that even without the support of priests and tabernacle, God will hear his prayer. The psalm is still read as an evening prayer in liturgical churches and it should be, since its words are as pertinent in today’s world as they were thousands of years ago. Like the psalmist, we should guard our speech in a culture where words entice and manipulate (3). Surrounded daily with temptation, our hearts are “drawn to what is evil” (4). Billions of dollars are spent by advertisers, urging us to “eat of their delicacies” (4) or buy the best car or the newest TV. We are inundated with messages telling us that life consists in the abundance of possessions and happiness is getting whatever we want. It is this from which the psalmist prays to be delivered (5b). The psalmist prays, rather, for the grace and strength to live in humble dependence on God (8). He longs for the downfall of “the wicked” (6,7), but also prays for the wisdom to avoid the snares laid for him (9). We, too, can easily fall into the cunning traps set by those who want to entice us away from godliness and self-discipline.
Jesus’ instructions to his disciples about prayer echo the feeling of this psalm. We need to pray very specifically: “your will be done … lead us not into temptation … deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:9-13). And we need to pray constantly (1 Thess. 5:17). That is why the thought of incense meant so much to the psalmist. It accompanied prayer in the tabernacle and its smoke, rising upwards, spoke of prayer “rising” to God.
Read again the last paragraph above. Pray through the Lord’s Prayer reflecting on the meaning of each phrase. Is there any temptation from which you need to be delivered?
Loving Father, I am so grateful that when I pray I am not begging for Your attention, but activating Your readiness. You hear me when I call. I praise You.
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