And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. (NLT)
Jesus concludes his model prayer by reminding us we are in a battle. This translation makes clear that it is not an appeal to God to refrain from tempting us. He is never the source of temptation. Nor is it an appeal to be quarantined against adversity. Hardship and setback are common ingredients of life on earth and can actually help us grow in faith.
It is a prayer that when such times come, that we will be equipped to be faithful. As C.S. Lewis says, there is no neutral ground in the entire universe. Every bit of it is fought over by God and his great adversary. Good and evil are in constant battle. So it is no surprise that we get caught up in it.
Our prayer is that we don’t succumb to the seduction of temptation. That we don’t become snared by the evil one’s subtle and not so subtle attempts to derail our journey and dehumanise our identity. It is no sin to be tempted: Jesus was. It is no surprise that we are tested: Jesus was. We are in the middle of a tug of war between God and Satan.
So we are urged not so much to pray to avoid the battle, but to avoid defeat in the battle.