Have you ever wondered how to pray to God?
There are many verses in the bible on how to pray but the most popular is the “Lord’s Prayer.”
Prayer is a divine exchange by which we exchange our weaknesses for His strengths, our lack for His abundance, our fears for His courage, our doubts for His faith, and our limitations for His never-ending supply. But what happens in prayer needs to compute in real life!
What happens in the spiritual realm needs to alter what happens in the natural realm!
This is especially important as we explore the next to the last portion of the Lord’s Prayer, also known as the “Our Father Prayer.”
Matthew 6:13 says, “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.”
In addition to teaching you how to pray, I’m teaching you how to live out your prayers. Prayer is never meant to be about merely the action of the hour. . .
. . . it’s meant to affect all the actions and events of our lives. So, as we discuss this part of the Lord’s Prayer, I want to talk about backing up our prayers with lifestyle choices.
First of all, I think a better way of praying this concept might be, “Lead us away from temptation and deliver us out of evil situations.” I say this because the Word tells us that our God does not tempt us. (See James 1:13.)
That is the enemy’s job!
God Is Not Trying to Take Joy Away from Us; He’s Trying to Get True Joy to Us!
We live in a world in which we are continually bombarded with pressures and temptations to conform to the ungodly influences of society.
We live in the real world with real issues. But the Bible tells us that although we live in this world, we are not to conform to this world. (See Romans 12:2)
Have you ever wondered exactly what that means or struggled with trying to live that out?
How far are we meant to go to separate ourselves from the world? Every denomination or camp seems to have its interpretations of this. Some well meaning groups go as far as to forbid women from putting on makeup or wearing contemporary clothing or cutting their hair.
The other extreme is to blend and integrate with the world to the extent that there is absolutely no visible difference between Christians’ lifestyles and conversations and those of secular society.
One extreme chokes the life out of us; the other extreme extracts the life out of us! In our years of ministry, I think that Larry and I have seen it all!
The Lord came to bring us life—and that more abundantly! Keeping His commandments is not meant to take the pleasure away from our lives. . .
. . . it’s meant to bring true pleasure to our lives!
His plan is not to deprive us of fun and good times; it is to place us on a solid foundation that will lead us into true and lasting happiness, fulfillment, and peace.
Our so-called liberated society has produced a lot more than liberation—divorce, addictions, teen pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent, and many penitentiaries and youth correctional facilities are overcrowded.
All too often, the things that we think will add fun and excitement to our lives end up bringing pain and dead ends. The very things the world says will bring us joy end up wreaking havoc and confusion in our hearts.
The paths intended to lead us to the fulfillment of our dreams can end up leading us into our worst nightmares! Our God has a wonderful, amazing plan that will lead us away from these destructive paths and put us on paths that will lead us into the joy and blessings that He desires and has destined for us.
He Has Set Apart Each of Us for a Special Purpose
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (NIV).
Do you realize that God knows us better than we know ourselves?
After all, He created us! He has set apart each of us for a special purpose and a particular work! We need to realize that fully serving God is not just a bunch of dos and don’ts. It’s a bunch of get to’s, opportunities, and privileges!
No matter how great of a life you or I could carve out for ourselves, it would be nothing compared to the incredible, blessed life that our God has destined for us!
The Lord always has our best interests in mind. God is a giver, not a taker. In fact, for those who follow His path, He promises to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that they can ask or think. (See Ephesians 3:20.).
Given that plan, we can’t go wrong!
Larry and I are living testimonies of this promise. For more than forty years, our lifestyle has been characterized by a mutual commitment to each other based upon the guidelines in God’s Word.
Living by following the Word has kept us on a path that is wonderful, vibrant, and ongoing. Our commitment to God’s guidelines has taken us through the rocky times in our marriage, stabilized us in times of doubt and uncertainty, and empowered us to remain flexible to change for the better.
As a result, we have been led into our own personal Promised Land in our marriage, family, ministry, business, finances, and every other area of life!
By the grace of God, we have managed to create a strong, great, and happy marriage and to raise our children to become godly, well-adjusted, productive adults.
We have proven that it’s possible to live lives that are pure, holy, and moral, and yet still be modern and contemporary, fitting into today’s society and living life to the max!
To live a life “set…apart” doesn’t mean that we have to act and dress strangely. Our goal as Christians is not to alienate the world. It is rather to draw the world to the goodness of God. We can be “normal” and contemporary while living clean, godly lives that reflect God’s glory.
Life is always a balancing act, but there are absolutes from God’s Word that we can use to build our lives upon.
We Give Up to Go Up
Not only do we need to learn to pray that God will deliver us from temptation and evil, but we also need to develop lifestyles that don’t have us hanging out with temptation and evil! Rather than asking for deliverance from evil and temptation, why not avoid them altogether?
If we are going to move forward into the blessings of God, there are some choices we have to make in our lifestyles. Saying yes to something means saying no to something else.
But remember, anything that we give up for the Lord He will multiply back into our lives. We give up to go up! This is yet another chance for a divine exchange.
Before we go any further, let me reiterate some things. God’s conviction is always to lift us to a higher level. It’s never to condemn us or embarrass us. Remember, the Lord is not pointing a finger of accusation at us; He is reaching out a hand to help us. As long as we’re on this earth, He challenges us to pursue higher levels of faith and godliness.
So, never feel condemned about where you are at any given time; be excited about where God is taking you! Your life is a journey, and from glory to glory, He’s changing you!
Have you ever watched small children learning to walk? They teeter and totter and stumble and fall down, over and over again, until they finally master their balance and coordination. Their parents don’t condemn or scold them as they’re learning; rather, they encourage their children and cheer them on.
Then, once the children learn to walk, the parents don’t rebuke them for not knowing how to run. There is a natural progression to learning and growing. Children learn first to crawl, then to walk, and finally to run.
At this point, they can pick up skipping, jumping, and playing sports. Of course, there are times when parents have to nudge their children ahead and keep them on a progressive course.
The progression of our spiritual growth isn’t all that different. Step-by-step, level-to-level, from glory to glory, we should be growing and maturing. As we advance to each new accomplishment, our heavenly Father encourages us and cheers us on like a father clapping for his daughter when she takes her first steps.
As we’re mastering walking, He isn’t condemning us or rebuking us for not having progressed immediately to running. If we stumble, He’s not going to condemn us or kick us when we’re down.
Just as a good earthly father would be, our heavenly Father is proud of us and actively assists us with our spiritual growth and maturation. And not only that, but He and all of the angels of heaven also are actively cheering us on!
As a loving Father, He is committed to seeing us do our best and enter into His best. He continually challenges us to grow to take us to new levels of His blessings. His goal is to steer us away from danger areas and lead us into blessing areas. That’s what the Ten Commandments, or the Law, are all about.