by Grace Hunter


Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’ Matthew 6:12,14-15 NIV

This section of the Lord’s prayer, also known as the disciple’s prayer, addresses forgiveness in verses 12, 14 and 15. But in between, we are told by Jesus to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” Matthew 6:13 NIV. Why do you think this is sandwiched between these verses on forgiveness? Especially in light of, “
When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;” James 1:13 NIV.

I got to visit my kids in Ft. Collins this weekend as I was pondering this question. My son-in-law is a pastor of a small church in Longmont, and we enjoy discussing his upcoming sermons and my devotional writings. He suggested I look at his copy of John Stott’s book, Christian Counter-Culture. John Stott’s opinion is, “The sinner whose evil in the past has been forgiven, longs to be delivered from its tyranny in the future.” Perhaps this is one reason why this verse is in between these other verses focused on forgiveness. John Stott explains why we should pray the phrase “lead us not into temptation”. He says, “The probable answer is that the prayer is more that we may overcome temptation, than that we may avoid it.” (Stott, p. 150).

Carolyn Schmidt gave me this little book called Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World, by Darrell W. Johnson. It has many good insights into the Lord’s prayer, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to take a deeper dive into understanding the Lord’s prayer and into praying it more effectively. I like the way he paraphrases this verse.

“Our Father, we cannot stand up under very much pressure. We are not wise enough to recognize and then counter the work of the evil one. When you lead us to the test, when life itself brings us to the test, do not let the test become a temptation, but rescue us. Rescue us from the subtle strategies of the evil one, help us to trust you.” Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World, (Johnson, p. 98).

I want to end with the full “expanded” way that Darrell Johnson prays the Lord’s Prayer (p. 113). May it bless you and give you insights into praying the Lord’s Prayer for yourself and others.

Our Father,
very close at hand,
on the throne of the universe:

Be hallowed(!) your name,
on earth as it is in heaven;

Come(!) your kingdom,
on earth as it is in heaven;

Be done(!) your will
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day all we need to be your people.

Cancel our debts,
as we have cancelled the debts of our debtors.

And as you lead us to the test,
do not let the test become a temptation,
but rescue us from the twisting wiles of the evil-one.
(He wants us to think that you are not as good as Jesus says you are.)

All this, and more, you can do,
for yours is the kingdom,
and the power
and the glory.

So be it.


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Red Couch Theology Podcast

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our LIVE podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron and the occasional guest, having a casual conversation diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching:

Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 6:13

“but if you do allow me down a path fraught with trials, please help me out the other side”

See also, 1 Corinthians 10:13

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