The Lord\'s Prayer

Deliver us from evil

This devotional is taking it back a few years as it's by Ben Jones, leader of St Peter's Brockley.

Matthew 6:9-13

9 "This, then, is how you should pray:

"'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

Reflection

When we pray for God's Kingdom to come, the underlying assumption is that a rival kingdom currently rules on earth (Eph 2:2). This rival kingdom is described in the bible as the kingdom of darkness (Col 1:13). The ruler of this darkness is Satan (Jn 12:31) and the ministry of Jesus can only really be understood in the context of a power encounter between the two; Jesus storms the kingdom of darkness and replaces it with his own Kingdom rule and reign of light.

C.S. Lewis said this: "there are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them."

An unhealthy interest is basically attributing everything that goes wrong to the devil. To see a demon behind every metaphorical bush is, at best, simplistic and, at worst, a complete distraction from our purpose to extend the Kingdom of God on earth. The power of the devil has been broken forever by the death and resurrection of Jesus (Heb 2:14) so let's not make him more powerful than he is.

However, an equally simplistic, but opposite error is to totally ignore the devil altogether. Disbelief of a spiritual dimension to the evil we experience in the world is not only inconsistent with our belief in a good and perfect God, it also leaves us open to being taken out by the schemes of the devil designed with the sole aim of stopping us from joining with Jesus in the extension of his Kingdom.

If it feels like you're being overrun by evil at the moment, Paul encourages you to stand your ground. Read Eph 6:10-18 and pray that God will clothe you with his armour so that you're able to do this.

If you're blissfully unaware of spiritual evil, ask God for opportunities to join with him in extending his Kingdom. The more we seek the Kingdom of God, the more we'll experience the inevitable power encounters as a result of being on the frontline of the battle. It's not necessarily comfortable, but it is fun. There is nothing more purposeful and exhilarating than partnering with God's mission to flood darkness in the world with the light of his love. It's what you were made for.

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