then in this way: "Our Father, who is in
heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us
our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but
deliver us from evil. For Yours
is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory,
forever. Amen." (Matthew
Deliver Us From
With a growing "Axis of Evil" and the
personifying of evil in Islamic extremism, Jesus'
prayer seems more urgent than ever.
The Jews of the first
century likely heard this phrase -- "Deliver
us from evil" -- the same way we do. They despised
the oppressive Roman occupation of their land.
They resented the brutality and violence that
produced the pax Romana. They felt
indignant about the threat to their own faith and
families. The "evil" is obvious. Father, deliver
us from these contemptible
The most insidious
and lethal expression
evil, however, lies not in foreign ideologies or tyrannical
regimes but within our own hearts. We don't
rush to admit it, but know we
must. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus shrinks
circles of danger, until we see primarily
not lead us into temptation"
exposes our real struggle.
mortal enemy is not the one who forces me against
my will, but the one who destroys my by
appealing to my will. It won't help me
to muster field-savvy soldiers for this
battle. I need spiritual reserves, spiritual
reinforcements, and spiritual tactics.
Deliver us from evil.
Perhaps Jesus refers to "the
evil one." The grammar of the text would support
such a reading (see the New International
Version). But might this simply be a way of
highlighting how entrenched, how serious, and how
grim is the
within? We all know it.
We don't need to hone
theoretical arguments about original sin or
the depravity of humanity. Our everyday reality causes
us to cry out like the lepers "Jesus, Master, have
mercy on us" (see Lk 17.13).
Deliver us from evil.
And, if we are serious in our plea, He
does -- not by destroying every vestige of
evil in our culture but by transforming the home
of evil in our hearts. Is there a day that we
don't need to pray this prayer? Is there a moment
when, standing in His light we don't see more of
our own darkness?
Jesus' prayer surprises us. In our
shame and fear we want to ignore the reality
of evil, lest it provoke the Father's rebuke. But
Jesus invites us to name it, so the Father can
join with us in defeating it.
Have you named the enemy in
your own heart today? Evil has many names: anger, lust, jealousy,
greed, pride, aggression, bitterness, indifference, etc. May He continue to
dispel our darkness!
In HOPE -