The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t have any question marks. Instead of asking questions, Jesus makes statements, or pronouncements, to God.

Our Father 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 lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer communicates an alignment with God’s desire and work. People can share the same desires and can strive to: honor his name, participate in kingdom work, gather provisions for daily life, extend forgiveness, and avoid sin. Each phrase is an announcement of that alignment, not a question about it.

The phrase “Give us this day our daily bread,” is not, “Will you please give us bread today?” Instead of asking if God will provide, the phrase states God’s ability to provide and it implies that a person will be content with that provision. The phrase, “but deliver us from evil” is not a hope, a wish, or a request of the Lord. It is an announcement about what God does as people follow his lead (away from temptation). Deliverance is what Christ accomplished on the cross, what believers can experience as they walk in step with him, and what they will enjoy in heaven.

Like all the phrases in the Lord’s prayer, saying “deliver us from evil,” doesn’t mean it happens automatically at that moment. People can bring evil upon themselves or force it on others. When former Dallas Cowboy, and three-time Super Bowl-winning wide receiver, Michael Irvin was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 he acknowledged before the crowd that he had stumbled a few times in his off-the-field life. In light of the example he wanted to set for his sons, however, he prayed, “God, don’t let me mess this up!” But God does let people mess things up. He does not lead people into temptation, as Jesus accurately announced, but God will let people walk towards it. Humans have freedom and do not have to: honor him, join in kingdom work, seek what he provides, forgive, or walk away from temptations. Living that way serves up a mess of evil.

God desires the purposes Jesus prayed in the Lord’s Prayer. Are your prayers announcements of your alignment with those purposes, or are they questions about it?

Pastor John Riley

Subscribe to the Daily Fill