9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father, who is in heaven,
[d]Hallowed be Your name.
10 [e]Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
[f]On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day [g]our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from [h]evil.[i]’
14 For if you forgive other people for their [j]offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive other people, then your Father will not forgive your [k]offenses (Matthew 6:9-15).
We have read and are told to ask, “lead us not into temptation” ( pi-ras-mos’ is putting to proof (by experiment (of good) or an experience (of evil). When we read “lead us not into temptation” in this part of the prayer, an immediate problem arises. I don’t know if you caught it and thought it through when you read this prayer before, but it stands out and gives us pause.
But other Scriptures reveal that temptation (Testing) is necessary for us. No one escapes it in the Christian life – for example: (1 Corinthians 10:13). “There hath no temptation (pi-ras-mos) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted ( pi-rad’-zo ) to test (objectively), i.e. scrutinize, entice, examine, prove, above that ye are able; but will with the temptation (pi-ras-mos’- a putting to proof) also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Pi-ras-mos is a Noun, Masculine
pi-rad-zo is a verb speaking of the same thing (a testing)
Furthermore, though God himself never tempts us to sin: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13), yet He does test us with challenging and discouraging circumstances, and these things become the instruments He uses to strengthen us and to build us up and thus to give us victory.
When we read this prayer, we are confronted with this question:
“Are we really expected to pray that God will not do what He must do to accomplish His work within us?”
What then does He mean, “lead us not into temptation”?
I believe that we are being told to ask our Father, who controls all things in heaven and earth, to restrain us from participating in things or going to places that would injure our souls—never allowing us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
It is as one commentator said:
“We put our hand into God’s in the morning, and we ask him to lead us through the day. We know not what experiences may come to us and we ask him not to bring us into sore testings. The prayer is a request that in the doing of God’s will for the day we may not be brought into places where it will be hard for us to be faithful.”
So, to answer the question of what this petition means, we can say that: “this is a request for the intervention of God in life’s moments of trial and temptation in such a manner that the ‘way of escape’ is made clear (1 Corinthians 10:13). The petition gives full recognition to the incredible deception and power of temptation and affirms that deliverance from the grasp of evil can come only from the Lord.” (Criswell, W A. Believer’s Study Bible: New King James Version. 1991. Thomas Nelson)
1. A sensitive conscience (morality)
2. Wisdom to differentiate good from any appearance of evil
However, in Greek, peirasmos is a morally neutral word that describes putting one to the test and then refers to the actual tests. Tests (trials) come (sent or allowed by God) to discover a person’s nature or the quality of something. Pressure (tests – temptations) brings out what’s really on the inside (our character)! Peirasmos then connotes trouble or something that breaks your peace, comfort, joy, happiness, etc. Trials or temptations are like a “moral crossroads,” if you will.
Since a believer now has a new heart and God’s Spirit within, they can choose how they respond to the test or temptation. A test or temptation faced in a way that seeks to please our Father is a harmless test that actually benefits the saint, as James 1:2 tells us. However, the same test wrongly engaged becomes a temptation to evil.
The temptations to which we are exposed continually are primarily provings, tests, to see whether we will be faithful to God or not. Indeed there is no experience that we meet in life that is not testing. We are required to make a choice every moment, and our choices prove us.
Here is a duty; shall we do it or not? Here is a call to service; shall we accept it or decline it? Here is an impulse to something worthy; shall we yield to it or repress it? We have money; shall we use it for God, or should we clutch it for ourselves? Sickness tries us; shall we bear it patiently and take from it the gifts of God it brings us, or shall we act without any appreciation?
So the believer prays (as we read in our prayer) to be kept from overwhelming solicitation to sin and, if he falls into it, to be rescued from it.
In a big way, this is a prayer to be kept from unrecognized temptation.
The conclusion of the matter is this. For good and necessary reasons connected with our Christian growth (James 1:2–12), we shall not be spared all temptation (1Corinthians 10:13). Still, if we ask to be spared and watch and pray against Satan’s attempts to exploit situations for our downfall, we shall be tempted less than we might have been (Revelation 3:10). We will find ourselves able to cope with temptation when it comes (1 Corinthians 10:13).
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