Since the Lord never tempts His people, why does Jesus instruct us in the model prayer to pray, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matt. 6:13)
God’s holy character is at the heart of this question. In His goodness and wisdom, God tests us to bring out the best in us or to reveal to us His character and provision in our lives (see Genesis 22 and the book of Job). But He never tempts us to do evil (James 1:13–15). Satan and our sinful natures are the sources of our temptations (see Matt. 4:1–11; 1 Thess. 3:5).
In the Lord’s Prayer, described by some as the model prayer, after we have asked for forgiveness, we ask our heavenly Father not to lead us into those things that cause us to yield to temptation in the first place. We ask our heavenly Father to keep us from anything that will bring us into sin, any temptation that will result in us yielding to sin. We are not asking for exemption from all temptation. We want God’s protection from temptations that we cannot handle.
Jesus further connects prayers and deliverance from temptation in Mark 14:38: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” When our hearts are filled with holy desire to honor the Lord in our lives, we seek to avoid falling into sin. We follow the instruction of Jesus to pray for the Father’s guidance and the Spirit’s power to deliver us from temptations that would overcome us.
This request should be on our lips every day! And according to 1 Corinthians 10:13, our faithful God will always provide a way for us to escape any temptation that we cannot handle. He delights to answer this prayer. When we yield to temptation we have no one to blame but ourselves.