“Do Not Bring Us to the Time of Trial”
On the one hand, it is best for us to stay out of situations that would test or tempt us and so we pray, “God, keep us out of situations that test or tempt us.”
On the other hand, no matter how much we pray to stay out of such situations and no matter how hard we try to stay out of them, sometimes we will find ourselves in them anyway, and so we pray, “God, rescue us from the traps of the evil one.”
Jesus seems to indicate that sometimes God leads us into testing while sometimes the devil ambushes us with temptation. It is hard to escape the thought, though, that quite often we have quite a lot to do with getting ourselves into the situations that test or tempt us.
That thought seems especially pertinent since Jesus offered this petition between the petition that has to do with forgiving others (v. 12) and his further statement about forgiving others (vv. 14-15), the implication being that our greatest tests and temptations have to do with relationships, something at which we are all so flawed.
Beneath the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray lurks another implied prayer, then: “God, deliver us from ourselves.”
“And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)