Our Spiritual Muscles
Praying Like Jesus – Part V
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:9-13
Key Verse: Luke 11:4
“‘Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
After honoring God and asking for our own needs and wants, Jesus concludes His model prayer with requests for spiritual victory over sin.
The technical definition of sin is coming up short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In a more practical sense, sin is failing to do what we know we ought to do (James 4:17). In both definitions, we are all guilty and need God’s forgiveness.
Most of us have little trouble understanding that we need God’s forgiveness, but it is the second phrase that gives us the most trouble: “for we also forgive everyone who sins against us”.
This phrase was the only comment that Jesus made after giving the disciples His model prayer:
“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sin.” (Matthew 6:15 NLT)
To live our side of forgiveness out, never forget all the times and reasons we needed God to forgive us! (Read Matthew 18:21-35 for more understanding of this side of forgiveness.)
The final phrase of Jesus’s model prayer in Matthew 6:13:
“And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”
The Bible is clear that God never tempts anyone to sin (James 1:13). However, this prayer is not about God tempting us but rather it is about us doing things that lead us into temptation. Jesus is saying to ask God to help us to not walk on the path toward temptation.
We live in such a wicked world and there are so many paths to temptation and the resulting sin. The television shows we watch, the movies we go to, and the computer sites that we allow ourselves to view are all common paths to temptation. We must ask God to help us to not start down these paths toward temptation.
We also include in this part of the prayer asking God to deliver us from the evil one. There is never a day in the life of a believer that the devil is not strategizing ways to destroy us or at least take our joy away. We need God’s strength in us to defeat the evil one, and God gives us all that we need (1 John 4:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:13).
Are you exercising your prayer muscles? Most of the time, we cannot see how powerful our prayers are. But prayer is our most important spiritual muscle!
Father, I praise You for The Lord’s Prayer as a model of prayer that You have given us. In Jesus’s Name, amen.