"And lead us not into temptation." Perhaps it's better to say, "Don't let us walk into temptation alone." It also suggests, "Don't leave us to be tested beyond our strength." Of course it's hard to imagine God doing either of those things, but there are times in life when we feel that God has done just that.
What to pray when life's trials seem much more than we can handle? "Lead us not into temptation. Don't leave us. Don't give up on us."
Following Jesus isn't easy. There are other, more tempting ways to live; simpler creeds to confess. So Jesus included this petition in his prayer-pattern.
The wonderful truth is that we are never alone. Even when we willingly walk away from the centre of the path of discipleship, God is with us. It's our will, our choice that takes us into temptation. It's God's will, God's choice of us that brings us back to where we should be.
It's amazing how these simple, yet powerful petitions can gather together the what of prayer. We should use our own words, of course; but, if we reflect on our own practice of prayer, we'll see how closely we follow this pattern.
Pray the Lord's Prayer from Luke 11 slowly, savouring each phrase.
Luke 11:2-4 – Jesus said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.'" Amen.