Q. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil) we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.
The sixth petition teaches us that it is God alone who is able to keep us from transgressing his law, and that the Spirit, by his Scriptures, is alone able to deliver us from the temptations of this world. The wicked desire the termination of the Church, hating the Christ and the Word which reveals the truth of Creation and Redemption.
“Temptation”—a testing, to prove. The Lord tests us for the purpose of making us strong. The devil ‘tempts’ us that we might practice evil. (1 Cor. 10:13)
“Evil”—making moral or ethical judgments, malice, and malicious activity. This amounts to a battle. Discuss temptation and evil. (1 Cor. 10:13 and Eph. 6:10–18)
“If the Lord aids us by his mighty power, we have not reason to shrink from combat” (Calvin).
What do the following Scripture verses teach us about praying for support and deliverance when we are tempted?
Practicing the study of God’s Word with prayer, that we may wear the strength of the armor of God, prepared for the war that wages around us and within (Eph. 6:10–18).
Evil is damaging and worthless, ever increasing in its wickedness in and through evil men and impostors who “grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). We, therefore, pray: “That God does not allow us to fall into evil, or permit us to be overcome by the devil, and the lustful desires of our flesh, which strive against us (Rom. 7:23), but He gives us strength to resist, sustains us by His hand, and takes us into His safe keeping, to defend and lead us.” (John Calvin’s Catechism)
“The sixth petition is, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” or, as some would translate, “from the evil one.” Here we pray that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support us when we are tempted. Here we also confess our own weakness and proneness to go astray, and we pray that God would so subdue and restrain us, and order all things about us, that we may be saved from temptation, or so succored in it that we do not fall into sin, or if we do happen to fall, that we may speedily repent, and be recovered and restored.” (Francis R. Beattie)
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