Answers To The Lord’s Prayer09.06.12

It struck me a while back as I was driving the hour and forty minutes between where I live and where I work that the Lord is answering my attempts to pray the Lord’s Prayer. In particular, the phrase lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil sounds in my heart.

Some recently read books have reminded me again of the odd relationship between exterior evil and interior evil. One 16th century writer wryly commented about a particular saint – that in others, her sins would have been virtues. Sin at its root is being centered on something other than God; often the results look quite respectable, even admirable to others. Perhaps even more frightening, it often looks that way even to ourselves. It is far too easy to pride ourselves on the shape of our lives, what we do or don’t do, than actually allow the Spirit to search us through and through about why we do what we do. If we were to allow this, then our self constructed house might shake and shudder, and we might reluctantly realize we need a new one.

While God has cosmic plans involving the universe, if we take Scripture seriously, God also lovingly and intentionally is involved in all the events of our lives. Nothing is hidden, nothing is beyond the scope of God’s ability to create beauty out of chaos, sin, and failure; Genesis and the cross of Jesus declare this through life, through death, and through resurrection.

At this stage in my life I’m reflecting back a lot, and many of the more barren and painful times of my life look different to me than they did before. One of many embarrassing insights has to do with failure and lack of “fruit” in ministry. As I notice envy in myself towards others’ effectiveness and pray about it, I realize how tempted I would have been to think success in ministry was due to something I did: how hard I worked, how creative I was, how diligently I applied my abilities to my task. (See how much of me there is in that last sentence?!?) Of course, a small sibilant voice whispers that I’m using sour grapes to justify myself once again, and that I’m really just a worthless failure who even God can’t use. I half smile at the half of it that is true, plug my ears and run straight for the One who knows me best of all and loves me still.

How has the Lord answered lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil in your life? 

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

2 Responses to “Answers To The Lord’s Prayer”

  1. Saw this on Mockingbird: speaking of Jesus, “He is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep,(Jn 10:10) the sheep who so easily, so often and so tragically have gone astray. Jesus said “my sheep hear my voice,” and in our prayer, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we are confessing our conviction that we have heard, because he is not silent.”

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    Posted by Bobbi on 12/13/09 September 8th, 2012 at 1:49 AMReply

  2. I appreciated your post. I also pray the Lord’s Prayer but I roll over the temptation part very quickly. Probably because my behavior is good. Every time I listen to the statements of faith from the current confirmation class I am startled by all the language about sin and forgiveness. I know the kids, and their sins are small! It reminds me that so much of the early part of our lives is about behavior and self-regulation – at least mine was.
    Still what is more true for me is how little heart and love is too often underneath my performance. I can pray with my patients such beautiful and helpful words and at times simultaneously be thinking about what route I am going to use to get to my next visit. So in addition to the Lord’s Prayer I also ask for God to fill my heart with love so that it overflows because it is so often a very small and empty organ.
    But, here’s the thing shouldn’t good behavior be enough! I preached a sermon once in which I pointed out that a fair reading of God’s expectation’s in the Old Testament is that as long as you cared for the poor God had no expectations about how you felt about them. But, I give you a new commandment …
    I continue to pray for me just as I pray for the world. Both of them are in need of a bunch of help.

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    Posted by Leonard S on 12/13/09 September 10th, 2012 at 5:39 AMReply

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