“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13
Every morning before I step out of bed, I pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray. In order to avoid reciting a rote prayer, I contemplate on the words I’m saying.
This year, I have experienced an awareness of evil in a way that I have never really given too much thought to before. Evil just seems to be lurking behind every new headline lately, at least in my mind. So, when I get to the part of the prayer where I pray, “Deliver us from evil” I’ve added an extra emphasis that hadn’t been there before.
Deliver us, O Lord, from the evil that seems to be encroaching upon our nation, on your Church, on our families, on our freedoms, on truth. Deliver us from the evil that feels like it is choking and consuming us. Deliver us from the evil that You know is making headway here, Lord.
The other day, as I was praying those words, I wondered if what I saw as the evil that was overtaking us as the evil that our Father sees as overtaking us. In other words, was I seeing as evil really just something that I was afraid of and did not want to be in my life? Is the evil that my Father sees something different? Does He see an evil that I don’t see?
When my Father sees me focusing too much on worldly leaders and their political platforms, might He be seeing the evil that is causing me to fear the one who can destroy the body but not the One who can destroy the soul, the one that is directing my eyes away from Him and His Kingdom, and want to deliver me from that evil?
When my Father sees me getting frustrated or angry with people who do not agree with my worldview, might He be seeing the evil that is darkening my heart toward my neighbor and preventing me from loving them, and want to deliver me from that evil?
When my Father sees me calculating racial justice and immigration laws rather than caring for the poor and oppressed, might He want to deliver me from that evil?
Lest I exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, I dare not think it is up to me to determine what is evil, or what is blessing. God has let us know in His Word what He considers to be both.