Lead us not into temptation

April 8, 2021

We have finally reached the seventh request in the “Our Father: “And lead us not into temptation” (Mt 6:13b).

With this expression, the one praying is not only asking not to be abandoned in times of temptation, but is also imploring to be delivered from evil. The original Greek verb is very powerful: it evokes the presence of the evil one who tends to grab hold of us and bite us (cf. 1 Pt 5:8) and from whom we ask God for deliverance. The Apostle Peter also says that the evil one, the devil, prowls around us like a roaring lion, to devour us, and we ask God to deliver us.

With this twofold plea: “do not abandon us” and “deliver us,” an essential characteristic of Christian prayer emerges. Jesus teaches his friends to place the invocation of the Father above all else, also and especially in moments in which the evil one makes his threatening presence felt. Indeed, Christian prayer does not close its eyes to life. It is a filial prayer and not a childish prayer. It is not so infatuated with God’s paternity as to forget that mankind’s journey is filled with difficulties. If the last verses of the “Our Father” were not there, how could sinners, the persecuted, the desperate, the dying, pray? The last petition is precisely the petition we make when we are at the limit, always.

Source: Pope Francis’ catecheses on the Lord’s Prayer, given during general audiences between Dec. 5, 2018 and May 22, 2019.