Praying the Lord’s Prayer the second time we focus on the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation.” This phrase is confusing to many people. Why would God lead us into temptation anyway? The problem is with the archaic language we use from a more traditional liturgy. “Lead us not into temptation” can also be translated, “Lead us away from temptation.” By “tempting” we do not simply mean the attraction we feel toward sin, but instead we are referring to the active temptation that Satan puts before us. In other words, “Lord, defend us from the attack of the evil one.” or “Keep us safe from the continued lure of evil. Direct us into the light and away from the dark.”
This second time praying is linked clearly with the third. The third time we pray we focus on the phrase, “Deliver us from evil.” This is the final and most powerful prayer of deliverance. Deliverance ministry is just that: a liberation from bondage to evil.
It is too simplistic to imagine that bondage to Satan is only ever in the form of explicit demonic possession. Many people suffer from bondage to evil. Some are bound to addictions, obsessive sexual behaviors and an addiction to particular sins. Others are in bondage to toxic, evil relationships. Still others are in bondage to their negative self esteem, destructive habits, depression, fear and anxiety. In all of these difficulties there can be a spiritual dimension. Evil spirits can hold a person back from fullness of health and spiritual well being.
In a very quiet and down to earth way, therefore, we can battle evil through a conscious and intentional use of the Lord’s Prayer to receive and give forgiveness, to pray for freedom from temptation and for deliverance from the dark powers that bind us.
Finally, the Lord’s Prayer can be used in this way not only for ourselves, but as an intercession for others. It is an act of mercy to pray for others who are in bondage and to ask the Lord to set them free.
This prayer unites us with the prayer of Jesus. This is how he prayed. This is what he prayed for. I believe this aspect of the Paternoster is the most important and yet most neglected dimension. When this prayer is said simply, quietly and slowly we join our prayers with his and so join our will with his for the salvation of the world and the liberation of souls.