Deliver Us from Evil

What are we really asking for in this final petition in the Lord’s Prayer when we say Deliver Us from Evil? Commentators are  divided between those who say this is a request for deliverance from the evils in this world, and those who say this is asking for deliverance or protection from the “Evil One,” that is, Satan. It certainly could be either one or both. The same “remedy” applies either way.

None of us can dispute that we are surrounded by perils and temptations. And we are all familiar with the verse, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

So, point one: evil, and the Evil One, is out there, and it is a constant threat to us.

But second, “the great point is that Jesus’ act of giving us this prayer is an implicit promise that if we seek deliverance from evil, we shall find it. The moment we cry ‘deliver,’ God’s rescue operation will start; help will be on the way to cope with whatever form of evil threatens us.”[1] Pair that thought with Arthur Pink’s warning, though: “What we pray for we must endeavor to practice. We do but mock God, if we ask Him to deliver us from evil and then trifle with sin or recklessly rush into the place of temptation. Prayer and watchfulness must never be severed from each other.”[2]

God has given us a full arsenal of weapons—both defensive and offensive—for us to use in our fight against evil. These are listed in Ephesians 6:11-18. This is how those verses read in the Amplified Bible:

“Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

“For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

“Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,

“And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.

“Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].

“And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

“Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”

Boiled down to the essence, what God has given us are His word (Psalm 119:9, 11), His Son (John 3:16-18), and His Spirit (John 16:13). He has provided a way for us to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)

But be warned:

“The enemy doesn’t want us to pray for God’s leading or for deliverance from his snares. He prefers that we feel confident and capable of handling whatever comes our way. Peter said to Jesus, ‘I will lay down my life for you’ (John 13:37) and tried to prove it with his sword, but a few hours later he had denied the Lord three times and sat alone weeping. ‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall’ (1 Cor. 10:12).”[3]

When you find yourself confronted with evil, remember,

“We as Christians… should not only know that [Satan] is real, we should also have a healthy respect for his power. But at the same time we must exercise faith in Christ. The Bible says, ‘Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4b). Believe that He can deliver you, for though Satan is far stronger and more powerful than we human beings, he is no match for the Lord Jesus Christ.”[4]

Go Deeper

[1] J.I. Packer, Growing in Christ (Crossway Books, 1994), p. 206.

[2] Arthur Pink, The Lord’s Prayer (Arthur Pink Collection Book 39: Prisbrary Publishing. Kindle Edition), emphasis added.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, On Earth as It Is in Heaven (Baker Books, 2010), p. 134.

[4] Spiros Zodhiates, The Lord’s Prayer (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1980), p. 296, emphasis added.

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