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Prayer and God’s Reinforcement

March 10th, 2014

“Our Father . . don’t let us yield to temptation.” Matthew 6:13 NLT.

Prayer is a preemptive strategy against evil in any form.

My thoughts and comments today are about “prayer and God’s reinforcement.”

With self-mocking humor, a person confessed, “I can resist anything except temptation.” Seriously, temptation is exactly what you must resist. Temptation has a potential far beyond what you first assume. I have never heard of temptation referring to things noble, charitable, or sacrificial. Temptation always refers to being lured into conduct or conversation harmful and shameful.

In answer to the disciples request that Jesus teach them to pray, Jesus set forth a pattern in what is commonly called, “The Lord’s Prayer.” Read Matthew 6:9-13. “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father . . don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13 NLT.

There are moments and situations when your will and best efforts need spiritual reinforcement. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” James 1:12-14 NKJV. Here is the problem; you can too easily be enticed by wrong desires if not vigilant. Read Romans 7:15-25 NKJV.

Prayer is preemptive. Your first defense for temptation is aversion and avoidance. To His disciples, Jesus’ was clear, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 NKJV. Jesus’ words apply to you as well. Your humanity is vulnerable; prayer is among the greatest of means whereby you weaken the flesh and strengthen the spirit within you. Prayer keeps your focus where it needs to be. “Since you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is . . and not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2 NIV. Prayer sets your thoughts and emotions firmly on what is holy, rather than things base and carnal.

Prayer reinforces resolve. The battle is fiercest in the midst of temptation. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV.

Prayer fortifies reinforcements. “For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18 KJV. “Succour” is an old English word, rich in significance, translating a Greek word meaning, “to come hurriedly at one’s call for help.” Prayer marshals the reinforcements and resources of Heaven to your defense, relief, and aid to, “Deliver [you] from the evil one.” Read Luke 4:1-13 NKJV/Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV.

My prayer for you today is: in temptation, you will stand strong in Christ and His Word.

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