And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Prayer is about connecting to the Father. It’s a way to commune with Him anywhere and at any time. This is the kind of love relationship you have with the Father. He is available to you, and He is pleased when you come to Him. Your relationship with the Father is safe and secure. It’s safe, because God is trustworthy. He will never act outside of His perfectly loving character. It’s secure because nothing will ever be able to separate you from His love.1
The Father knows what you need. And out of His goodness, He works to meet your needs. He is holy and will never do anything to harm you. The Father sovereignly reigns over the universe He created, which means there is no circumstance that is beyond His control. He has a story for your life better than any story you could write for yourself if you had all the control. When we surrender control of our lives to Him, we start to enjoy the life we were meant to live—a life with the Father.
Before your group meets, go before the Father in prayer. Ask Him to prepare your heart for your discussion and allow Him to reveal His truth to you.
MY PRAYERS THIS WEEK
What or who are you praying for this week?
How is God answering your prayers?
What is He revealing to you?
Truth in Life
Prayer is a weapon that keeps me from sin and its stronghold.
We walk into battle every day. Some days don’t feel like a fight. Life seems to be going just fine. But there are days when the battle is intense, and we feel under assault. Temptations come, and, despite our love for God and a desire to do His will, we feel the pull towards sin. The battle against sin is real, and becoming a Christian doesn’t excuse us from the fight. Actually, being a Christian makes us more aware of the fight. The Apostle Paul once reflected on the inner tension he experiences in the war against sin and his flesh. Eugene Peterson paraphrases his words in Romans 7:21-23:
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.2
How do you fight the sin that’s still in you? By praying. Prayer is a weapon that keeps you from sin and its stronghold. It keeps you from falling into temptation. It keeps you from forgetting whose you are. You belong to the Father. No longer do you belong to sin. Jesus’ victory at the cross released you from sin’s stronghold. Now, you can live to please God, not sin.
Q: What words would you use to describe the battle against sin?
Q: How would you explain that prayer is a weapon to a non-believer?
LEARNING FROM THE MASTER
Jesus’ final petition addresses the battle against sin and evil. God never tempts us to sin.3 It isn’t in His character because He is holy. So, the prayer “lead us not into temptation,” is a prayer for God to not allow us to give into sin.4 It’s a prayer for direction. God will always give you a way of escaping temptation. Nevertheless, sin is subtle, and it tempts you in deceitful ways. Therefore, Jesus teaches you to pray daily and often for the Father to move you towards Himself and away from temptation and sin.5
Jesus teaches His disciples to pray for God to “deliver us from evil.” This is a prayer of protection. Sin never makes good on its promises. It promises life but gives death. It promises happiness but makes us miserable. It promises satisfaction but leaves us discontented. Behind sin’s deceit is an enemy that doesn’t want us to live the life God designed for us. He doesn’t want us to Jesus frees you in the fight against sin. God’s promise in Christ is that we can live victoriously and be free from sin’s stronghold. Not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus has done for us (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
Q: Define sin in your own words. What is it? How does it work?
Q: Where do you need more protection against sin in your life right now?
POWERFUL PRAYER PRINCIPLE
The sixth Powerful Prayer Principle is deliverance. You can’t escape sin’s presence in your life. It still dwells in you, and you will have to contend with it daily until you die or Jesus returns. While you can’t escape sin’s presence, you are free from sin’s power over you. You have been delivered from living as a slave to sin. Paul tells us believers in Rome that “you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18) [Emphasis added].
Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to declare Christ’s deliverance over the power of sin in your life?
CHANGED BY PRAYER
Don’t Be Foolish
God gives you wisdom, but sin makes you foolish. Prayer puts you in a position to receive God’s wisdom. In the battle against sin, don’t be a fool. Paul Tripp highlights four aspects of foolishness that we should be on the lookout for in ourselves. The first aspect is the foolishness of self- centeredness. We were made for something bigger than ourselves, but sin reduces your life to be all about you. The second aspect is the foolishness of self-deception. We can be guilty of making ourselves look better o than we really are. The third aspect is the foolishness of self-su ciency. We still believe the lie that we can live independently and self-su ciently without God more than that we’d like to admit. The fourth aspect is the foolishness of self-righteousness. We can’t truly appreciate the gospel of grace if we think ourselves better than others.
Q: Consider the four aspects of foolishness. Which one do you identify with most? Why?
The cross delivers you from the power of sin. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be times when you succumb to temptation. It means that Jesus has delivered you from sin’s ultimate power— death. So, what do you do in times of temptation when you need deliverance? First, submit yourself to God. Call upon the Father and declare Him Lord of your life. Second, confess any sin that might be causing temptation. Maybe it’s a lack of trust. Maybe it’s lust. Whatever it is, give it to God. Third, renounce any spirit or stronghold. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, proclaim His victory and your freedom because of it. Fourth, follow the Holy Spirit’s directing. The Spirit is your Helper, sent by God to live in you and always turn you toward the Father and away from sin.
Q: What are some practical ways your group can fight together in the battle against sin?
Reflection & PRAYER
Take five minutes to complete the Reflection and Response section below.
HOW IS GOD SPEAKING TO...
What is He teaching you?
In what ways is He reshaping how you see Him? How you see yourself?
What is He calling you (or your group) to do?
Pray in groups of 2-3 for the following:
Prayer of Victory for yourself.
Where do you want to see the stronghold of sin broken in your life?
Prayer of Victory for others.
Where do you want to see sin’s stronghold broken in someone else’s life?
1. You have unmatched security in your relationship with the Father. If you’re His child, there is nothing you can do nor can anything be done to you to keep you from the Father. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37-39).
2. Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Rom. 7:21–23.
3. “Although God never directly tempts believers (James 1:13), He does sometimes lead them into situations that ‘test’ them (cf. Matt. 4:1; also Job 1; 1 Pet. 1:6; 4:12). In fact, trials and hardships will inevitably come to believers’ lives, and believers should ‘count it all joy’ (James 1:2) when trials come, for they are strengthened by them (James 1:3–4).” Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1832.
4. The Bible tells us that there is never a situation where sin is our only option (1 Cor. 10:13). The only reason we sin is because we choose to sin. We have no one to blame but ourselves when we give in to it.
5. God makes you fit for the battle against sin. In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul gives us the picture of the believer’s spiritual armor. When we put on this armor, we ready ourselves for the battle against sin and evil.