The Pope has suggested that we reword the Lord’s Prayer when it comes to temptation. Why would the Lord’s Prayer be altered? As a Christian I am amazed by how many people can basically quote these few phrases of a prayer. Most cannot tell you the Ten Commandments, but the Lord’s Prayer is heard frequently enough that many can join in once it is started. Why would Christians want to mess with that?
I heard JI Packer, an evangelical theologian, give a talk on Ephesians 6 (Christian instruction about how to defeat Satan). As he introduced this topic, he told us that in his late 80's he has dedicated the rest of his life to training Christians to be true disciples of Christ. He said Ephesians 6—how to defeat the evil one—is the place he would start. I love and respect JI Packer; but I thought this should be the second thing taught Christians, and the first should be our identity as children of God and coheirs with Jesus. We need to understand that we are dearly beloved children of God. Knowing my true identity as a dearly beloved child of God is what energized my spiritual life. However, JI Packer is much wiser than me, so I will heed to his spiritual wisdom. I have come to see that what I most need to know as a Christian is that I am a dearly beloved child of God. Therefore, the enemy of my soul is obsessed with hiding this reality from me.
I don’t naturally pray that I won’t be led into temptation and that I will be delivered from evil. I ask God to protect my family, save souls who haven’t turned to Him, and help to complete the tasks of my day. I don’t see the ways I am being tempted every day, even tempted by not being aware of the temptations that I encounter every day. 1 John 4:4 tells me: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” I definitely don’t need to be ultra-focused on the enemy of my soul because as a Christian I have overcome him (through Jesus Christ). However, I do need to be aware of his evil tactics that he uses against my progress and freedom in Christ. I don’t want to underestimate the devil.
How am I trite about the devil? Do I stay on guard against his constant focus on stealing my soul from its connection to God and His purposes for my life? Am I aware of the ways he tempts me daily to focus only on myself and distance myself from the love of God? I read a news story that Chelsie Clinton tweeted Happy New Year to @churchofsatan. Some accused her of being a Satan worshipper. I looked up the tweet to see for myself. The tweet didn’t imply that she had ever met the leader of the church of satan but that she was mentioning they had been connected in a tweet several years back. Since it was on New Year’s Day; she tweeted Happy New Year. After coming under attack about the tweet, she commented that she had thought we had made so much more progress in accepting one another’s different religious focus. Does she not know what Satanist believe and do? Have we been blinded to the work of satan in our world? We cannot be trite about the presence of satan in our culture and his dogged desire to tear our lives apart. 1 Peter 5:8 instructs us: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
None of us can be trite about the devil. We are told to be constantly on our guard. We need to have an awareness of his daily traps and temptations that lead us away from knowing a confident love of God in all our affairs. All this focus on the Lord’s Prayer has stirred me to be more faithful in praying it daily. I am not just repeating the words but letting the words and phrases sink deep into my reality. I’m claiming every phrase and word in my daily life. The Lord’s Prayer is helping to reorient my soul to the love and presence of God.