Today, as we ready ourselves to face whatever the Sovereign Lord has foreordained, it would be wise for us to utilize the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern. It is good for us to begin the day by honoring the Father, hallowing his name, and praying that his will might be done. It is expected that we should humble ourselves and pray for our daily provision, for all profitability and riches come from God. With diligence, we should regularly confess our sins and remember the Gospel. Consequently, we should be ready to grant Christ-like forgiveness to those have sinned against us. Then, we ought to continue glorifying our Heavenly Father by asking two things of him:
- Lord, please lead us not into the way or place of temptation.
- Lord, please deliver us from the Evil One and all his evil ways.
Perhaps the Heavenly Father will say “yes” to our first petition. Perhaps the devil will not visit our garden. (I.e. Adam and Eve) Perhaps our brother will forgo the making of soup when we are desperate and impetuous. (I.e. Jacob and Esau) Perhaps our wife will not encourage our compromise. (I.e. Sarah). Perhaps our husband will not tempt us to sin by loving us properly. (I.e. Tamar) It could be the our earthly leaders will make better decisions and keep us closer to the covenant community and further away from Sodom. (I.e. Lot and his family) Maybe God will allow us to miss seeing the giants in the land that tempt us to deny his power and might. (I.e. Israel) Yes, today, God could send our temptations down the other road. He could cause our hostile co-worker to call in sick. The acquiring of the new business contract could go so smoothly so that bribery or lying are not even considerations. Perhaps the substance that causes bondage and destruction will not be available or found. Today could be the day he heals our thorn in the flesh that encourages discontentment. God might even do the seemingly impossible; he might make our troublesome spouse or irritating children surprisingly charitable and easy to get along with. Who knows, God might answer our first petition with a “yes.” He might choose to remove temptation from today’s agenda.
Quite often, the Lord says “no” to our first petition. However, when he does say “no”, he does so in order to say “yes” to the second. Satan throws temptation in our path in order that we might fall. God allows or sends temptation our way in order that we might worship him and be improved.
Therefore, how ought we to walk in the midst of the temptations allowed or sent according to the good will of our Sovereign Father? The Psalmist provides assistance:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:9-16)
Pray! Throughout the day, let us continue seeking God with our whole heart. He is the power that leads to purity. Without him, the church has nothing to offer. Without him, the sacraments are of no effect. Many prayers are meaningless. Even the Word of God is not profitable to those void of God’s Spirit. The means of grace are meaningless without the falling and filling of the Holy Spirit. Let us seek the Lord with our whole heart.
Read! As we pray, open the Scriptures and seek the Lord’s will. He has given us Commandments for his glory and our good. He is the teacher. Open the text and go to school. Let us fill our minds with his inspired and infallible instruction. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. Let us put his Word in our minds that we might not sin against him. Scripture is powerful and affective within those who commune with Christ.
Meditate! Take a portion of God’s Word and put it on our mental hard-drives. Let us recite his precepts over and over again. Let us pray through his Word forwards and backwards. We must make it our own. We must store it on our hearts. We must memorize his statues. We cannot afford to forget that which we are learning by his Word and Spirit.
And if we immerse ourselves in the Word and prayer, what can we expect? In the midst of our temptation — while God rules, God watches, Satan visits, the world calls, and our fallen flesh urges us to sin — God’s Spirit will use God’s Word to guard God’s children. He, through the Word and Prayer, will guard our way, help us not to wander, and minimize our sin. He will use our praying, reading, and meditating to deliver us from the Evil One and all his evil ways.
And here is the Gospel. When we still fall, and we will, the Heavenly Father will still be there to answer all our other supplications; especially the petition that goes, “Forgive us our sins.”
Practical Application: Why don’t we memorize Psalm 119:9-16 throughout the day and pray through it as we resist temptations to dishonor our Lord and Savior?