What is Implied When the Godly Pray: “Lead Us Not into Temptation”
by Wilhelmus a Brakel
When we pray, ―Lead us not into temptation we are not praying for the averting of all temptations or trials resulting from a spiritual or physical cross, or from all circumstances in which we would be able to fall. This is God‘s way with all His children whereby He humbles them, exercises them in the battle against the enemies, and sanctifies them. Rather, the petition is as follows: ―Neither let the temptation get a hold of nor have power over us; do not withdraw Thy Holy Spirit from us; do not give us over to ourselves when opportunities for sin manifest themselves. When the enemies assault us and seek to toss us to and fro and sift us as wheat, let us then not be overpowered by the temptation. Do not let us be ensnared so that unrighteousness would gain the upper hand; neither give us over to evil inclinations nor to the lusts of our corrupt heart. For where would this not bring us? If, however, it pleases Thee to let situations arise and that snares are laid for us everywhere, and if devils and worldly people in a subtle or evil way scheme to catch us, keep us from falling and lead us by Thy Spirit. Give us strength to remain standing, so that by our fall our own soul be not mortally wounded, the godly be neither grieved nor offended, and Thy Name and true godliness be not blasphemed.‖ Such was David‘s prayer: ―O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in Thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on Thee‖ (Ps 25:20-21); ―O forsake me not utterly‖ (Ps 119:8); ―Let not them that wait on Thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek Thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel‖ (Ps 69:6).
Thus, the petition not to be led into temptation is indicative of:
(1) a knowledge and an acknowledgment of the sinfulness of our heart and our weakness to resist temptations;
(2) a hatred and an aversion for sin and a fear for falling into sin;
(3) a love for communion with God, which is affected and obscured by a falling into sin; as well as a love for the honor of God‘s Name, the reputation of godliness, and the joy of the godly;
(4) faith in God‘s care for His own, and in God‘s omnipotence to give them strength to subdue the enemies in their assaults; as well as faith in the goodness of God as rendering Him willing to do this, and His veracity that He will do it, having promised to hear and answer prayer.