Daily Devotion for August 19, 2010
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 this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Andrea Bocelli's rendition of the musical setting of the Lord's Prayer, written by Albert Hay Malotte in 1935.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me - love the Father and love all humankind. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed me with the spiritual food of his Body and Blood. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say thisó those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
The Lord's Prayer (part 4)"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
Notes on the Scripture
The phrase "lead us not into temptation" has vexed Christian scholars for 2000 years. Why would God lead us into temptation in the first place? The most popular opinion is that the Greek (which has three, rather than two, degrees of active/passive voice) suffered from a misinterpretation of the Aramaic, and that what Christ said actually meant "do not let us be led into temptation".
There are direct Biblical contradictions in the idea that God might lead us to temptation. For example, St. James wrote: "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone" (James 1:13).
St. Augustine himself re-translated the passage, "Suffer [permit] us not to be brought into temptation". If this interpretation makes sense to you or helps you in your prayer, by all means adopt it.
There is a second dispute over the passage which is a bit more arcane. Many people over the centuries have had difficulty with the idea of praying even "do not let me be tempted", with the argument that temptation is good for our character and our souls. It was the Holy Spirit, after all, who led Christ into the desert to be tempted by Satan. Again quoting St. James, " Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:3-5).
People who are troubled by this issue make a distinction between being tempted -- having temptation before them -- and being delivered to temptation, i.e. giving in to it. Picture a married man whose wife is out of town, when an attractive woman at work begins to flirt with him. He would face temptation; however, if he walked away, he would not be "delivered" to it. On the other hand, picture the same man going into a motel room with the woman. He has not yet committed adultery (although he would be "lusting in his heart")(perhaps we should use a former US President from the State of Georgia for our analogy). Yet, he would have delivered himself to temptation.
Again, if this interpretation works for you, good. Personally, I don't get snagged by such small questions. I would rather not be tempted and I have no problem asking God not to tempt me or not to let me be tempted. He knows how stupid I am and He knows that I am trying to pray in the way Christ taught us to pray.
My own interpretation, when I pray this line, is that God not answer any of my prayers that will result in increased temptation to sin. For example, I might pray (directly or indirectly) for some worldly item, or to be cured of some physical ailment. But it might be that getting what I ask for would be bad for my soul and tempt me to sin. There is an old saying, "Be careful; you might get what you wish for."
But the important point is this: Do not let theological questions come between you and God. When you say the line "lead us not into temptation", God understands that you are praying not to sin and that you are worried that you might give in to temptation.