Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated that when we are enticed to sin, it is the “Adam in us” that is exposed to sin; the result is that we fail “in Adam.” When the enemy attacks us as Christian believers, he does so to attack the Lord Jesus in us, but loses every battle when the believer finds his or her identity “in Christ,” in who Christ is. When we sin, our old nature is exposed—Satan’s attack is revealed, and God is glorified in that we are shown how we need to turn to our Redeemer, to “throw ourselves upon the Word of God.” When we have victory, it is only because we are already “in Christ” in the first place. In either case believers are thrown upon not their own resources but God’s Word, which calls us back to life in Christ. Thus all temptation loses its ultimate power. God is always the victor. We are drawn either (1) to a need for the grace of Christ due to our fall or (2) to rejoice because we have received a victory over sin because we were in Christ.
The center of this petition, then, while it includes the battle with temptation to sin, centers on the prayer for us to be led and delivered; we are led by the Lord and we experience victory against the forces of darkness. “Lead us . . . and deliver us from the evil one.”
While we face temptation in a fallen world, we do so as those who have a Redeemer, a victor who came that we might be empowered to face the things that destroy, and find our hope in Him. Insomuch as we are in Christ, His power flows to our aid. Inasmuch as we are “full of ourselves,” He cannot aid us, for our resources come to an end. There is a good word in Hebrews that speaks of how Christ comes to help us.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but he was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
The point of all prayer is relationship with God. Even when we face the tempter’s power, it is possible to discover that we are driven toward the Lord who would fill us with His power. We can identify with His mission. In the midst of that identification, we can receive “mercy and . . . find grace to help in time of need.”
Jesus, You are the great High Priest who sympathizes with my weaknesses and allows me to enter into the throne room of God! Yet, how often I miss the point of prayer! I talk at You instead of with You, and pour out meaningless drivel that sounds good to me instead of lining up with Your kingdom purposes. Draw me to Yourself! It is only Your strength that defeats the devil’s designs upon my life. In my weakness, show Yourself strong. In my yieldedness, make Yourself known to me more fully!
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God as the constant and loving provider for all your needs. Give thanks to the Lord that his grace is sufficient for you (2 Cor. 12:9). Confess any times you have questioned the Lord’s dealing with you and others. Commit yourself to “be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil. 4:11). Ask that daily you may confidently say, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
Pray that specific “Christ-less” individuals whom you know will be discontented with life without Christ, and seek life in him. Ask for the privilege of being involved in their conversion.