“Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9–13 NLT)
Because of the importance of the Lord’s Prayer and how much Jesus packs into these five verses, we are going to split them up into four devotionals. Today we’ll look at verse 13.
Since we were young, all of us have received training on being mindful of our actions, knowing that if we take a toy without permission we will be reprimanded. However, far fewer of us have received a similar level of training around being mindful of our thoughts and motives. Even the most mindful person, on the best day, still falls prey to the pitfalls found in the human heart, and, as Jesus repeatedly stresses throughout the Sermon on the Mount, the thoughts and motives that reside within the deepest parts of ourselves are just as important – if not more so – than the actions we take or the words we say.
If our goal is to not yield to the temptations of this world – whether their source be the evil one or our own unchecked desires – we must learn to better understand why each temptation is so enticing. God formed each of us to be unique, so what pulls at me does not pull at you in the same way or to the same degree; our individual experiences, interactions, and personalities form the backdrop to each temptation we face. Being mindful of our thoughts and motives by knowing what pieces within ourselves help to feed each temptation can prepare us in advance of the actual temptation, granting a bit of foresight that might help us resist it.
This is not easy work. It requires opening ourselves to allow the Holy Spirit to show us the deep recesses of our hearts that we have hidden away from ourselves: our fears, our pains, our regrets, our losses, our desires. However, there are fewer ways to better spend our time than conversing with the Spirit with the end goal of becoming people who look more like Christ, both in action and in thought and motive.