You have given us a world of beauty, and we have spoilt it.
A world to feed us, and yet many go hungry.
A world of riches, and we are unwilling to share.
A world to care for, and we think only of ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God,
for those times your heart is saddened by our selfishness.
For those times we have no thought of others,
no cares but ours.
Enable us to see this world anew, as a gift from you,
to be shared and nurtured.
The Lord taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” ~ Matthew 6:13. It’s the oddest of requests really. Why in the world would God ever lead us INTO temptation? Do we really need to request that God not?
Yet, I have been feeling a bit tempted lately. For me this generally begins with a thought. When the thought occurs, I know it is temptation. It is not nice or not helpful to think it, but it doesn’t seem all that bad, really. As long as I don’t act on the thought.
Well, temptation is a slippery slope, and like most slopes, if you stop yourself before it gets too steep, you have a better chance of not falling. So, I had this other thought. What if, whenever I felt tempted, I just spoke the words to myself: “Lord, lead me not into temptation…”?
Worth a try, right? Well, the instant I adopted the practice, I was astounded at the frequency with which I put this to use. It’s a bit embarrassing. In just a few hours, I was tempted:
- to complain about the kids blocking the aisle
- to chastise the smokers in the parking lot
- to judge the outfit
- to find fault with the other patron
- to lose my patience
- to take advantage
- to blame
- to run ahead of God
- to seek validation and admiration
- to gossip
- to compare
- to rush to be done and submit less than my best
- to be selfish
- to dismiss another by talking over them
- to dodge my responsibility
- to neglect
- to steal by plagiarizing
- to worry
Wow! Think of the evil I was delivered from! Ha. And I thought I was doing pretty well. (see validation/admiration above) Guess this is gonna be a greatest hit on my prayer list.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
I’ve grown soft, Lord,
I’ve been indifferent, Lord,
I’ve become complacent, Lord,
I am forgetful, Lord,
I am fearful, Lord,
I am neglectful, Lord,
Guide me toward wonder, Lord,
Lead me toward newness, Lord,
Rekindle the heart you created, Lord,
All that I am is yours.
Lord, be mine for all time.
And I, yours.