Prayer – Day 16

Sixth petition

The original Greek sentence, which is usually rendered in English as “lead us not into temptation”, is difficult to translate. The Greek “lead us” cannot be translated by a single English word because the sentence means both “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “do not let us yield to temptation”. If we bear both these meanings in mind when we pray this petition, we can get the idea of what it means.

When we are tempted, we are usually tempted by something which appears to us to be a good thing. We are not tempted so much by badness, but we may be tempted to do something bad in order to get something good out of it. Often we argue that the end justifies the means. Often there may be something good at the heart of our temptations, but the problem is that we become so obsessed with having that one good thing that we ignore all the bad consequences that would follow if we tried to get it.

When we give way to temptation, we follow our own will, and not the will of God who can see far beyond our own limited vision. He knows what we are made of and how easily we stumble. This part of the prayer is a warning to us not to entertain the thought of justifying sin for whatever reason.