Let me offer a good reason to pray when tempted. Every temptation is a solicitation to illicitly fulfill a desire that God wants to satisfy in a good and wholesome way. Listen to what James has to say on this score. First, he defines temptation as the product of our runaway desires: “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:14). Next, James tells us not to be fooled by this process: “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers” (v. 16). In what sense are we likely to be fooled? And what is the truth that will deliver us from this deception? James spells it out: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights…” (v. 17).
James would tell us to remind ourselves, when tempted, that the very desires which are pulling us toward sin can be met in a much better way – by presenting them to the Giver of all good gifts, by asking the Giver to satisfy us. Have you ever prayed along these lines in the midst of temptation? Try it. Open your mouth and say, “Lord, I’m feeling the tug of sin. Would you please satisfy the desire that sin is promising to fulfill?” It may help you to identify what that desire is. But even if you can’t put your finger on it, cry out to the Giver with the simple entreaty, “Lord, satisfy me.”
Father of heavenly lights, each day I struggle with the “tug of sin. Would you please satisfy the desire that sin is promising to fulfill?” Help me to recognize that “every good and perfect gift” comes directly from You, and that nothing else can fulfill my needs. Whenever temptation rises up in me, may I always recognize that my deepest longings can only be met in Your embrace.
Adapted from Prayer Coach by James L. Nicodem.
Praise your all-powerful God for conquering sin and death. Thank him for new life in Christ and for saving you from the torment of sin and the agony of eternal death. Confess to God any apathy toward his powerful love in your life. Ask him to develop moment-by-moment awareness of his love for you and a passion to share this love with unbelievers. Commit to praying regularly for unsaved friends, family members, and neighbors. Ask that God will use you to reflect his love, his life, his lordship.
Pray that those who strive for earthly power will come face-to-face with its futility and surrender all to Jesus.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend