Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
“But deliver us from evil”
The 7th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer is one to which every Christian will subscribe and one which he will pray most earnestly. “But deliver us from evil,” the Lord taught His disciples. Our Lord knew the power of Satan, not because He was inclined to sin or had sin, but because He was confronted by the deceitfulness of the devil whom He overcame perfectly when He was tempted in the wilderness.
Jesus knew that in this world His disciples would have struggles and difficulties, both physical and spiritual. Whereas Jesus had the inherent strength to overcome because He was true God and true Man, we by contrast do not have the strength within ourselves to overcome the deceit of the devil or to bear the burdens of life ourselves. Because of Who He was, Jesus was not swayed by the devil in any way. On the other hand, we are easily beset by the devil, the world, and our own flesh, because of what we are–mortals, subject to sin and the consequences of it.
By instructing His disciples and preserving that instruction for us in the Bible, our Lord is putting us on alert that He wants to help us and is able to help us. Regardless of the evil with which we are confronted, our Father in heaven is willing and able “to deliver us from every evil of body and soul, property and honor,” as Martin Luther put it in the catechism.
The Lord delivers us in His own way and in His own time according to His good and gracious will. He delivers us from evil, keeping it from us; He delivers us by helping us to bear it, or by making it work to our ultimate good. The Scriptures abound with historical, real life events of God’s people that demonstrate His love–Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, Paul, and many more. Finally, He brings us the ultimate deliverance–that for which we pray with earnestness. We pray that “when our last hour has come, [He] would grant us a blessed end and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.” Death is the ultimate tragedy and evil for those who reject Christ. For the believer in Christ it is the ultimate victory over evil and freedom from evil. We express our faith with the apostle who said, “I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better” (Php. 1:23).
All the people of the world live in an evil world and are confronted by it regularly. We pray to the living God, the Triune God, the God of strength, of mercy, and of love: “Deliver us from evil.” To whom do they pray who construct a god of their own imagination?
–Pastor Daniel Fleischer
THE SEVENTH PETITION
But deliver us from evil.
What does this mean? We pray in this petition, as the sum of all, that
our Father in heaven would deliver us from every evil of body and soul,
property and honor, and finally, when our last hour has come, grant us a
blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself in
-- DR. MARTIN LUTHER'S Small Catechism
(Concordia Publ. House, 1943)
The Seventh Petition
"But deliver us from evil."
What does this mean?
We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would deliver us from
every evil to body and soul, property and reputation, and finally, when our
last hour comes, give us a joyful end and graciously take us from this
valley of sorrows to Himself in heaven.
-- MARTIN LUTHER'S SMALL CATEFCHISM
(Sydow edition, 1988)
(A comparison of two currently used versions)