Monday, August 15, 2011

"When you pray...." Homily on the Lord's Prayer, Part 6: Our Weapon (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"...lead us not into temptation...." Luke 11:4b

"And though this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us...." -Martin Luther

The continual provision of God's "daily bread" is not merely a physical provision, for it is not merely physical things that threaten us. That we "wrestle not against flesh and blood" (Eph. 6:12) is a truth that we take too lightly, having been saturated by our skeptical-secularized age. As far as we're concerned, all of our demons are flesh and blood: people and circumstances and mistakes by our own hands. We can't see the plague for the flies, and we ask that God would deliver us from this world with such people in it. In contrast, Jesus said, "I pray not that Thou should take them out of the world, but that Thou should keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15). We subconsciously scoff at notions of "the evil one," trusting instead only what the eyes in our head can see. "Yes, yes, 'the evil one'. Now how about helping me out in my actual present circumstance?" Is there fear in your present circumstance? Doubt? Pride? Anger? All of the above? If so, then you have greater problems than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

When you pray, acknowledge your need of this spiritual safeguarding. The truths of God are a light for the darkness, especially the living darkness that stalks you in the night (Ps. 91:4-6). The wilderness that you wander through is not void of threats, and God's pillar of fire is not merely for show. Its shafts of light will pierce the dark like a rain of a thousand arrows. As they fall into the inky black there will be roars and gnashing of teeth, for the darkness hides a multitude of evils. Our enemy lives by the power of stealth, of blindness and deception. So pray daily that the Lord of Hosts would give to you His truth to wield, so that you will not be lead into temptation, away from the light of God and into the outer dark.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2011

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