Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

The Prayer of Prayers: "Lead Us Not Into Temptation"

This is part seven in a series of Tim Keller's thoughts on the Prayer of Prayers.

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

        ...lead us not into temptation.”

~ Luke 11:1-2, 4b

Tim Keller:

With this petition Augustine makes an important distinction. He says, "The prayer is not that we should not be tempted, but that we should not be brought [or led] into temptation." Temptation in the sense of being tried and tested is not only inevitable, but desirable. The Bible talks of suffering and difficulty as a furnace in which many impurities of soul are "burned off" and we come to greater self-knowledge, humility, durability, faith, and love.
However, "to enter into temptation," as Jesus termed it (Matthew 26:41), is to entertain and consider the prospect of giving in to sin. Calvin lists two categories of temptations from the "right" and from the "left." From the right comes "riches, power, and honors," which tempt us into the sin of thinking we do not need God. From the left comes "poverty, disgrace, contempt, and afflictions," which tempt us to despair, to lose all hope, and to become angrily estranged from God. Both prosperity and adversity, then, are sore tests, and each one brings its own set of enticements away from trusting in God and toward centering your life on yourself and on "inordinate desires" for other things.

The Prayer of Prayers: "Deliver Us From Evil"

Bless Yahweh, O My Soul