Jean’s Gospel: Introducing the Lord’s Prayer: Deliver Us From Evil
“Deliver us from evil”
In this seventh and final petition, we ask our Father to protect, rescue and deliver us from every kind of evil that afflicts His good creation with sin, suffering and death, and which threatens to devour His children.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps 119:105)
We in America live in an age of increasing subjectivism and political correctness. Increasingly, people are willing to question: What is evil? Who has the right to decide for me what evil is? For Christians, however, these questions have objective and unchanging answers. Something is not evil because you or I disapprove of it; something is evil because God disapproves of it.
Jesus testified that He is the truth (John 14:6). Paul described Jesus as wisdom from God (1 Cor 1:30). Therefore, Christians have the Scriptures as the definitive source of God’s truth and wisdom regarding what is good or evil. The Scriptures are the God-breathed Word of God (2 Tim 3:16). And the Word of God is eternal and unchanging. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matt 24:35) Martin Luther was correct in saying: “You are so to deal with the Scriptures that you bear in mind that God Himself is saying this.”
The psalmist portrays the Word of God as a lamp to our feet which lights our path (Ps 119:105). As long as we have light, we can see what is around us, where we are going and what to do or avoid. Without light, we are blind, ignorant and easy prey to the forces of evil surrounding us. “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet 5:8) Therefore, in this petition we should ask our Father to grant us a willing spirit which delights in God’s Holy Word that we may store up His words in our heart. In so doing, His words will light our path and protect us from evil.
Because of the importance of God’s Holy Word, it is constantly under attack by the forces of evil. False teachers attack the Word from inside the Church by undermining its authority and trustworthiness or by trying to lead the faithful astray with false doctrines. Secularists attack the Word from outside the Church by painting it as intolerant, time-bound or as a primitive artifact.
Therefore, in this petition we should pray for the Church and all faithful servants of the Word. The Church has been given the vocation of preserving and handing down the doctrines of the Christian faith to successive generations. Moreover, it is through the Church that the gifts of Christ – forgiveness, salvation and life – are delivered to sinners through proclamation of the Gospel and by administration of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. It is precisely through the faithful carrying out of its vocation that the Church is the primary means through which our Father delivers us from evil.
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
This petition includes both a present as well as a future request. In the present, we ask our Father to defend, protect and keep us from the schemes of the evil one and the deceitfulness of sin. In addition, we ask our Father to rescue and deliver us safely from the evil that we currently are in. “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.” (Ps 91:14).
“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor 15:25-26)
This petition also includes a future request. We ask our Father to deliver us safely from this evil age and bring us into our Lord’s heavenly kingdom. Not only for ourselves, but for all people threatened or currently afflicted by evil, we ask that our Lord Jesus Christ would quickly complete His reign from heaven by “put[ting] all his enemies under his feet,” and utterly destroy all the forces of evil which oppose His works of grace. “The Lord will rescue [us] from every evil deed and bring [us] safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)
We should also pray for our non-Christian neighbors, including our enemies, that they may hear and believe the Gospel while there still is time. Let us transfer to Satan any enmity we may harbor against our neighbors and pray that our Father would deliver them from Satan’s kingdom just as He also delivers us.
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29, 31-32)
Finally, we ask our Father that when the hour of our death draws near, that we may be found with abiding faith, at peace with God in Christ. Father, let our death be swallowed up in victory. In that hour, keep us from unrepentant sin, fear and despair. May your Holy Spirit fill us with joy and hope in the certainty of Christ’s promises of resurrection and everlasting life. Let us depart in peace.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” (Ps 91:1-6) Amen.
Next week we will continue with the conclusion: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Copyright © 2016 Jean Dragon – All rights reserved.