In this fallen, broken world, we often encounter the temptation to sin. But whenever we are tempted to do something that we know is wrong, we can always count on God’s help to overcome temptation. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus assured us that we can ask God: “Do not lead us into temptation”. These words are easy to pray, but we must act them out after praying in order to successfully turn away from temptation. How to apply the “do not tempt us” prayer on your life.
Where does the Bible say “lead us not into temptation”?
The Bible contains the phrase “lead us not into temptation” in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the model prayer that Jesus gives his disciples – the so-called Our Father. In Matthew 6:13, Jesus says, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
God guides us, but he doesn’t tempt us. James 1:13 explains: “No one should say, when tempted, ‘I am tempted of God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone ”. If we are tempted to sin, that desire comes from living in a fallen world where God’s original plan has been corrupted. Humanity can be tempted to sin and suffer from it, for these are natural consequences of rebellion against God. God never sends temptations into our lives.
Although God does not tempt us, He allows us to be tempted because we can learn and grow in the process. God allows us to be tempted to build stronger beliefs and characters if we make the right choices. Jesus also encountered temptation during his earthly life. Satan tried Jesus three times in the desert in a manner that represented the usual types of human temptations. Each time, Jesus proved that good triumphs over evil. When we are tempted ourselves, we can rely on God to help us when we turn to Him. “No temptation has overwhelmed you except that which is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability, but will pave the way with the temptation so that you can endure it ”(1 Cor 10:13).
What does “lead us not into temptation” mean?
God leads us constantly – not only towards good, but also away from evil. By praying that God “will not lead us into temptation,” we ask God to meet us right where we are – whatever temptation we may face – and give us the wisdom and strength we need to make the best choices. As we pray this phrase, we welcome God’s power in situations that lead us into temptation. God can dissuade us from going in the wrong direction, but we must invite Him to do so because we have free will. Choosing to say a “Do not lead us into temptation” prayer is a way of exercising our free will to follow God’s guidance rather than parting with His guidance.
When we are stressed, we can struggle with the temptation to seek fulfillment in a source other than God. In my book, Wake Up to Wonder, I describe how we can numb ourselves emotionally to reduce stress. These opportunities include everything from bad habits like overwork, thoughtless online surfing, unhealthy convenience foods, and too much shopping to addictions like alcohol, smoking, gambling, or pornography. Giving in to common temptations like these can temporarily make us feel better, but the resulting numbness prevents us from seeing the miracle of God’s work in our lives. As a result, we are stuck in deafness. However, when we make the decision to seek God’s help in moments of temptation, miraculous glimmers begin to enter our lives. We wake up with the awareness of God’s presence with us. The awe we experience inspires us to go where God leads – away from temptation and towards true fulfillment in a loving relationship with Him.
So “lead us not into temptation” means paying attention to how God works to guide us and choosing to go in that direction. That includes shifting our focus away from whatever is trying to bring us to God Himself. When we value experiencing God’s love as a cheap substitute for God’s love, it becomes easier for us to overcome temptation.
A “do not lead us into temptation” prayer
We can ask God not to “tempt us” by praying for God’s help in avoiding situations that could lead us to fall into sin. Mark 14:38 tells us: “Keep watch and pray so that you do not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. ”Each of us knows what causes us to sin most. We all have certain triggers that have led to past mistakes and current bad habits. To Seek God’s Help In Freeing Yourself From Temptation:
– Confess your bad habits and ask God to cure you of unhealthy desires. Make a commitment to God to help you stop unhealthy behavior for a month. Since it usually takes at least three weeks to change a habit, you have time to record your new engagement.
– Disconnect from the temptations your past mistakes have created. Make any lifestyle changes that God lead you to make. Ask a few people you trust to give you encouragement and responsibility as you make new, healthier decisions. If you are dealing with a particularly challenging experimental subject – like addiction – seek help from professionals such as a counselor or doctor.
– Practice mindfulness when you experience stress instead of giving in to your old temptations. When stressful emotions hit you, experience them without being controlled by them. Be mindful of these emotions by reassuringly acknowledging your feelings in the present moment. Instead of responding to challenging emotions, respond to your feelings by trying to learn from them.
– Pray for help – both proactively and in the moment of temptation. Here is a “do not tempt us” prayer that you can use: “Jesus, please give me the spiritual strength I need when I am tempted to sin. Sometimes my desires seem too strong to even resist temptation. I believe in your promise to give me strength in my weakness. Thank you for understanding the struggle I am facing. Just as you have overcome temptation even in the wild with Satan, I know that you will help me overcome any temptation I face. Help me focus on you and not what is tempting me and rely on the strength you give me to overcome temptation. Send me your wisdom day after day so that I can regularly make decisions that will lead me away from temptation and closer to you. Thank you for your help in all situations. Amen.”
No matter what temptation you face, if you seek His help, God will help you overcome them. God “knows how to deliver the upright from temptation,” promises 2 Peter 2: 9. The more you follow where God is leading you day by day, the better you can deal with temptation. Along the way, you will discover the miracle of the power of God at work in your life!
Credit: © Getty Images / Tinnakorn Jorruang
Whitney Hopler is the author of the book “Wake Up to Wonder” and the blog “Wake Up to Wonder”, which help people achieve success through experiencing awe. She heads communications at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University. Whitney has worked as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations including Crosswalk.com, the National Salvation Army publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel about angels and miracles). Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.