Dare We Pray:
Deliver Us From Evil
Matthew 6:13 and John 19:16-42
As you contemplate Christ’s death for you, and how that delivered you from evil, may you understand a little more the love of God our Father,
Intro – Deliver Us
We arrive here, this evening, at the foot of the cross.
To think through what it means for Jesus to die, his wrists and ankles shattered by spikes. We look on a broken man, one who endured so much pain and agony. Agony not just of the physical pain, but the agony of being alone, abandoned by those who counted themselves as His friends. Mocked by those whom he taught to pray
Whom He taught to pray to our Father in heaven these words…
“Deliver us from Evil”
It is the last request of the prayer.
And the most painful, and the hardest to pray.
For it is a confession we don’t want to make.
That we have gotten so entangled with evil, that only God can deliver us from it. That He had to make the decision to do so.
Life without evil sounds nice, though what it took, and what it takes, is a price that goes beyond what most of us are willing to pay, or for which we will find it easy to pray.
Yet He taught us to pray to the loving Father, “Deliver us from evil.”
And died on the cross to make it happen.
The Problem Why is it hard to pray this? What is Evil?
When we think of being rid of evil, it is often evil somewhere “out there” Satan’s work in the world, and as His demons work throughout the world. We speak of those evil empires, or the evil politicians, or the murderers and rapists and real serious sinners in prisons, those who God would never save, or it is a miracle if He does.
We don’t pray, “Deliver the world from evil,”
We pray deliver us from evil.
It is personal. We need the Father to deliver us, His people, from evil.
It is a hard prayer to pray, because we have to admit that evil can get a grip on us. That we are the sinners, that evil can get its grip on us, affect us, and that we can think, say, and do that which is evil
We do though, when we make decisions about who is righteous in God’s eyes, and who will be judged, (because God won’t save them!) and condemned for being evil.
We do it when we try to make our actions look righteous, even though we know they aren’t, when we try to justify ourselves, or those like us, rather than pray for all involved. When we gossip and assume the worst possible reason for why someone would do something, or say something. We even pat each other on the back, and congratulate each other when we shred our adversaries rather than pray for them.
There are so many ways we in which we sin, in which we choose that which is evil, over that which is blessed by God.
And today we come to the cross, seeking mercy and grace, praying, Father, deliver us from evil.
We can pray it here…at the foot of the cross.
That is why we are here. To pray, and to remember that the Father has delivered us from evil.
Look at the cross; there is where it happened. Where God unites sinners to Jesus, nailing their sins to Christ, and transforming us into saints, crediting us with His righteousness.
Look at the cross, where our attempts to justify ourselves, our futile attempts are dismissed, for because of Christ being nailed there.
Look at the cross, and know this prayer the Lord has taught us, an every phrase, every word is answered,
He proves He is our Father
His makes His name is holy, as He uses it to claim us, His children, with the seal of the cross in baptism
His kingdom is revealed to include us, for He purchases and redeems us with the blood of Christ.
His desire, His will is seen, as He enables us to not perish, but to repent and be transformed as we are united to Christ, and given the Holy Spirit
He gives us all we need, and care for us, making everything work for good for those He has called, for those who love Him
He forgives us, and helps us forgive others
He leads us away from temptation, as we look to Jesus, and are transformed into sacrificing servants who reflect His glory and embrace our own cross
and He delivers us from evil.. Cleansing us of it, by nailing it to the cross.
And so let us give Him every burden, every anxiety, every pain… even as we pray, trusting Him to answer…