The Tempter Within

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The Lord’s Prayer: part 4 of 6

And leave us not in temptation, but deliver us from evil.

There are a number of versions of this line in the Lord’s Prayer. The traditional version is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The Aramaic version reads, And let us not enter into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The version I’m using is suggested by Charles Fillmore who argued that the Lord would never lead us into temptation. Likewise, it is a bit awkward to think that if we succumbed to temptation, we could blame the Lord. I asked you to make sure I didn’t enter temptation, and here I am. Do you mind explaining why you let me do this?

Again, if we take the affirmative approach to this line, we will find it a helpful reminder that our strength is always present even in our weakest moments.

There are times when you feel flush with strength and optimism, when you know that you can move forward with confidence regardless of what the obstacles appear to be. Then there are those times when the appearances get the best of you. You look out and survey the landscape of your life and you wonder why you ever thought you could succeed. At such moments it is important to remember that God, your unfailing source of strength, power and wisdom, can never leave you.

The tempter within is not an entity that is trying to snare your soul and lead you to a path of self destruction. It is that lesser self in you, that region of consciousness that does not grasp the fuller truth of the omnipresence of God. The word evil can be understood as error or erroneous thinking, thinking that is based on appearances and half truths rather than on the truth of your wholeness and the potential for wholeness that your life holds perpetually. So, our conceptual translation of this line would go something like this: In my moments of weakness, your limitless love, power and wisdom lift me above all erroneous appearances … Making this inner shift connects you with your point of strength and you again move forward in confidence and in peace. 

 

The Expansive Action of God

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Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Like the first line in the Lord’s Prayer, this second line also expresses three ideas that are important to a prayerfully receptive state. It is generally believed that this prayer is petitionary, that it makes requests of God. However, many modern biblical scholars tell us we should think of this prayer as affirmative in nature, that it should be spoken in a manner similar to this: Thy kingdom is here, thy will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.

This attitude aligns our thinking with the truth that the fullness of God (kingdom of God) is here and the will of God (absolute good) is unfolding right now. In relation to a challenge you may be undergoing, you are to think of God’s help as already present and that only absolute good is unfolding through your life, that what is already true at the unseen level (heaven) is also manifesting at the level of the visible (earth).

This attitude allows you to take your focus off the limitations of the apparent problem and turn it to the limitless possibilities of Spirit. Spirit is unformed intelligent energy and it is always looking for ways to express through specific channels. A seed you hold in your hand is endowed with this life, but it must be planted in a growing environment to begin its transformative process. Then this unseen life and intelligence, the kingdom of God, becomes evident. The expansive will of the Creative Life Force manifests.

When you pray, always remember that you are not attempting to get God to act; you are agreeing to open yourself to the action of God.