The Lord’s: Temptation and Prayer

Thank God that the Lord Jesus would be tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  (Heb. 4:15).  He accomplished this for us, that we would know that His victory over temptation is our victory.  Be encouraged in this victory of Jesus as you now consider the relationship of our Lord’s temptation to the powerful prayer He taught His people to pray.

We begin the loftiest prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven.” The tempter prefaced his temptation of Jesus by questioning His sonship with the words, “If you are the Son of God, then…”  We are now sons of God by faith in The Son of God (Gal. 3:26,27), and the tempter will no less tempt us to doubt our sonship.  The universal salvation-work of Jesus along with our individually applied Baptism give certainty that we are sons of God.  Hold this up to Satan when you are tempted to think God is not your father.

“Hallowed be Thy name.”  The Catechism reminds us that here we ask that the Word of God be taught in its truth and purity.  The devil tempted Jesus by misquoting the Word.  So too we will each be tempted by abuse and misquoting of the Word of God. May our Lord mature our understanding of His Holy Word, thus sending the Tempter reeling with this properly wielded sword of the Spirit.

“Thy kingdom come.”  The usurper of the kingdoms of this world tempted Jesus by offering Him said kingdoms.  Do not fall for this temptation to worldliness.  By the Holy Spirit we now believe Christ’s eternal kingdom has come to us, the kingdom flowing from the cross and empty tomb.  May the Spirit of Christ push aside the unholy spirit so that others come to believe in the Word of Christ’s kingdom.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  In the Small Catechism we are wisely reminded that this petition is prayed because the will of the devil is set against God’s will.  God’s will, wonderfully summarized in the first two petitions, is constantly challenged by the Tempter.  Thank God that His will is done, because our will is woefully wanting in fighting the will of the devil.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”  Our gracious Father gives us daily bread, for which we give thanks.  In Christ’s temptation we are reminded that we have bread beyond daily bread, for we do not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Overcome by temptation we fall into sin, and often we doubly sin as we fail to forgive those who sin against us.  The Lord Jesus not only became sin that such apparent victories of Satan be nullified, but He also empowers us in the midst of our temptations, that we forgive as we have been forgiven.

“And lead us not into temptation.”  The catechism reminds us, “God indeed tempts no one.”  But we pray this petition so that we who are in Him who was led by the Holy Spirit to conquer temptation, be guarded from the tempter’s temptations to misbelief, despair and other great shame and vice.

“But deliver us from evil.”  This concluding petition can be translated, “But deliver us from the evil one.”  Indeed, while we yet reside in the foreign and fading realm of the evil one, we will be tempted by evils of body, soul, property and honor.  Empowered by Christ’s Spirit may we be faithful to the Lord Jesus unto death, and thus exit this veil of tears and receive the crown of life, eternally delivered from evil.