In the Sunday school class, they were going to pray for some missionaries, and the teacher said, “Now the missionaries are very busy. So when you write them and tell them that you are praying for them, don’t expect them to write back.” One little girl wrote and said, “Dear Missionary, We want you to know we are praying for you. We don’t expect an answer.”
Are you praying and expecting an answer? I can tell you that if you will get your heart right and pray as Jesus taught you to pray, you will get an answer. And that brings us now to verse 13. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
And the prayer comes to a conclusion on a very powerful note—we need to be delivered from evil. Ours is a devilishly dangerous age. And Jesus taught us to pray, “. . . deliver us from evil . . .”
This chapter contains a somber message, but I want you to pay attention because, friend, you have an enemy, a real enemy. He has made plans to sabotage your life. The dynamite is in place and the fuse is laid. The match is struck. And you may feel right now that you’re sailing along fine on the journey of life, that God is in His heaven, and you don’t need to pray. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Satan has always wanted to pull the veil of darkness over his kingdom. But by the aid of the Holy Spirit, I want to rip that veil away and I want us to understand some things about this sinister minister of evil, the devil.
Recognize the Sinister Person of Evil
Now, number one: We need to recognize the sinister person of evil. Verse 13 says, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil . . .” In the original Greek, it literally says “deliver us from the evil one.” He’s not just talking about sin, as such. He’s talking about Satan. And Jesus taught us to pray that we would be delivered from the evil one—Satan.
The Person of the Evil One
Let’s talk about Satan here. Let’s talk about his personhood. Satan is a person. He’s not a figment of imagination. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” You say, “Why am I so important? Why would the devil be after me?” The truth of the matter is you’re not that important. Why does Satan want to hurt you? Because God has set His love and His affection on you. Evil persons have always known if you can’t get at someone, get at someone that someone loves. Hurt someone that someone loves and you’ve hurt that someone. Satan cannot get at God directly, but he knows that God has set His affection on you. And so, therefore, he is the bitterest enemy of the people of God. He is your adversary.
He has many aliases, just like every evil person. Let me give you some of the names of this evil one in the Bible. He is called the deceiver. He is called a liar. He is called a murderer. He is called the accuser of the brethren. He is called the tempter. He is called a prince. He is called the destroyer. And here in this model prayer, he is called the evil one. He is intelligent. He is aggressive. He is cunning. And he is destructive. His cleverest ruse is to make people think he doesn’t exist, that he is somehow a medieval superstition, that he is just some comical little character dressed in a suit of red underwear with a pitchfork trying to catch somebody bending over. I mean, that’s the caricature of our age. So we name football teams “demons.” We have “devil’s food” cake. We call a car a demon, because to us it’s all kind of comical.
And if he can’t convince people that he doesn’t exist, then the next thing he wants them to think is that he is in hell. He’s going to hell, but he’s not there yet. He is in our society today.
The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The enemy is not the Democrats. It’s not the Republicans. It’s not the IRS. It’s not your mother-in-law. The battle may show up between flesh and blood, but the problem is not flesh and blood. We have a spiritual enemy. This enemy may have a thousand heads, but he has just one heart. He is a person, a real person.
Adrian Rogers and Steve Rogers, When We Say Father: Unlocking the Power of the Lord’s Prayer (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2018).