“Here, I believe, is the key to understanding what is most personal in prayer. We do not pray to tell God what he does not know, nor to remind him of things he has forgotten. He already cares for the things we pray about… He has simply been waiting for us to care about them with him.”

– Tim Stafford

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Have you received clarity and direction from the Holy Spirit on how He would have you participate in the spiritual discipline of fasting during this 21 Days? For some guidance and ideas, read our post on “Why Fast?”

We want to encourage you to grab a journal or a notebook – something to write on as you walk through each prayer guide or devotional. Yes, it will add a few minutes to the time it takes to do the devotion, and it will also deepen your experience and shape your walk with God for years to come. This journal or notebook will be a keepsake to remind you of God’s faithfulness during this challenging season for all of us.

Engage the Word

Over these several days, we are exploring Jesus’ words where He taught His disciples (and us) how to pray, in what has become known as The Lord’s Prayer. Here, Jesus says to His disciples (and to us):

Matthew 6:9-13

9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

       10     Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

       11     Give us this day our daily bread,

       12     and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

       13     And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Connect the Heart

Jesus said pray then like this:

       13     And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

This can be a very confusing line in Jesus’ prayer when you think about it. God actually never leads us into what we typically think of as “temptation.” We often think of temptation – in English – as a seduction to evil, and this is, of course, something that God would never do. The Greek word used here (peirasmus) actually means “a test” – and Jesus, in His prayer, uses it in this sense – more related to trials that God would allow for the testing of our faith in order to develop perseverance and character in our lives. Does God ever lead us into situations where we might be tested – or even tempted? Of course He does! He even did this with His own son, Jesus. Matthew 4:1 says “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” The Bible doesn’t say He was led by the devil… it says He was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness. The Bible also says Jesus was tempted in every way as a man, yet remained without sin (Hebrews 4:15). The truth is, testing – and even temptation – can have positive results when we submit ourselves to God, because it can reveal what is in our hearts and help us refocus our values. It can also remind others of God’s grace and goodness. It might seem like a contradiction for Jesus to ask the Father not to lead Him into temptation, even while acknowledging its positive results. But as author Dr. David Jeremiah says, “It is possible to recognize the benefits of a difficult thing while still praying that it doesn’t happen.”

Reflect on the Truth

1. How is your heart – your words, your actions, your desires, your motivations – trusting God to lead you, guide you and remain with you even in the face of difficulties and trials that He might allow?

2. Jesus invites us to ask God not to lead us into temptation (or trials), while also requesting that He deliver us from evil. Is there a difficult situation in your life that you would like for God to deliver you from? Take a moment to invite Him into that situation.

Depend on the Spirit

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that these thoughts are pointing to. (For example: you may write down, “O Father in heaven, Thank you for providing your strength in the face of temptations and trials – because I’m not able to endure this on my own.”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His word, His Spirit, His people.

For Prayer:As we conclude our devotional time, pray for someone in your circle of relationships that doesn’t know Jesus. How might God use you to impact them with the hope of the Gospel?


Read our post “Why Fast?” to learn about the spiritual discipline of fasting and gain a better understanding of why Jesus asked us to fast. We fast not to get something we want from God, but for God to change our wants. We fast because Jesus fasted, He expected we would fast, and we see that the early church fasted.

Read yesterday’s post HERE.

Catch up on all our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting posts on the blog HERE.