This will be our final look at the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, which we have been calling “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
I can get nervous that there is one good way to go and a lot of bad ways, or that there is one right road to take and the rest of them will lead me into trouble. Thinking that way can cause me a lot anxiety, especially when it comes to decisions like what kind of work to do or which school to choose or which classes to take when I get there or which job to apply for… or if these shoes go with these pants!!!
What this part of the prayer does for me is encourage me that there may be many roads to take ahead of me and that God will lead along the way. The prayer isn’t “Help me pick the one right way to go.” It’s “Lead me not into temptation… deliver me from evil.”
I’ve come to believe that if God is leading, He will take you places with good options. That doesn’t mean bad options won’t present themselves. They will. But even then, God offers to help and deliver us.
When you pray today, be encouraged that God is good. He is a good friend. In His goodness, He’ll give you good options. He will also help you, if you ask Him to and let Him, avoid getting into situations and patterns that can steal life from you.
Let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer…
FIRST TIME – Just read it or recite it naturally and at whatever pace you naturally move at. Then give yourself a moment and take a few breaths before doing it again.
SECOND TIME – More slowly this time, read or recite the prayer and pay attention to the images, thoughts and feelings that might pop up as you do. Is there a line in the prayer that catches you? Is there a choice you need to make that has you tangled up inside? Don’t think about why you’re seeing, thinking or feeling these things… just pay attention.
Then, after that second pass through. Take a longer pause and focus on that image or thought (or name or face) or the line from the prayer that jumped out at you. Ask the Spirit of God to speak to you about what that means for you.
Then, take another long breath and ready yourself for your third pass.
THIRD TIME – Keeping the thought or image in mind that jumped out at you, read or recite the prayer one last time, even more slowly and then give yourself the gift of silence for a few breaths.
Before you leave this time, ask the Spirit of God to continue speaking to you about whatever image or thought may have jumped out at you. Perhaps ask “Why is that in my mind?” or “Is there a course of action I am supposed to take?”
You may want to use a journal to capture any stay thoughts or record your experience. Sometimes, coming back to what we’ve written later means seeing what it is we were hearing, seeing, feeling more clearly.