October 26, 2014

Deliver us from Evil

So far in our exploration of the Lord’s Prayer, possibly the best known prayer in the world, we have paused to remember that God is our ‘daddy’. God is also holy and we are to allow ourselves to be conformed to God’s Kingdom and God’s will in our lives. For this God gives us what we need every day. In order to be more closely aligned with God, we must forgive ourselves and others. We also have to let go of those things that keep us from being fully in relationship with God. There's a lot to think about in this prayer that we often just recite!

In this part of the prayer, after acknowledging that we are easily tempted, we turn to God for protection from evil. Since the Garden, there has been evil abroad in the world. However, “God has overcome the world.” When Jesus was tempted by Satan, he declared 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'(Math. 4:4 NIV). In times of trial, Jesus recognizes the Lord as His source of deliverance. Likewise we are to depend on God when evil is at our door. We can ask for God to be our protection from being ‘lured’ by temptations that are not in line with God or that are truly evil. Being consciously aware of the protection of God can take the form of dedicated prayer.

Part 1
One way to focus on prayer, aside from all the suggestions already in this series is to use Anglican Prayer Beads. It really isn’t hard to make your own. If you don’t want to string the beads, you can purchase them and learn to use them in prayer. One set of directions and prayers is here.


Part 2
Yet free us from not being in the Present is how the Aramaic translation puts the petition for safety from evil. And it is true that when we are too focused on either the past or the future we are not living into the full life and protection of our Holy God and Father. There’s an old Chinese saying by Lao Tzu that puts it in perspective.

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Matthew 6:25-34 says essentially the same thing, Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Like the Anglican Prayer Beads, a Holding Cross can help you focus on the present and on the presence of God. A Holding Cross is a specially shaped cross, but you can sit and focus on any cross you have, concentrating on being in the moment with God.
 
Next weekend is All Saints Sunday when we remember all the saints of the church, both famous and every day men and women who have gone before us in the faith. Then we’ll resume our study of the Lord’s Prayer with the closing doxology

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