“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Luke 22:31-32, 39-40, 45-46
Jesus is not unaware of our weakness and susceptibility to temptation. He also, better than we, knows the spiritual realm and the fact that God’s enemy, Satan, is constantly working for our downfall. Temptation comes to lead us to sin and separation from God, who cannot co-exist with sin. Jesus understands all that’s going on with us… so what does He tell His disciples? “Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” He even told Simon that He was praying for him so that his faith would not fail. That’s what can happen. That’s the goal of the enemy: to shake and uproot our faith in Jesus.
Temptation is one of those few things in life that is common to every person. We all experience temptation and Satan’s attempts to unravel our faith in God. What’s our defense? Prayer.
I don’t understand all the mystery of prayer, but what occurs to me this morning is that prayer works as a defense against temptation by diverting our hearts and minds back to God. The forbidden apple on the tree was appealing to Eve and it captured her attention over God’s love and will for her. Every temptation attempts to do the same to us. It clouds our minds. The fog rolls in and we do not see the love of God and His desire for us. We fall into temptation because we do not see clearly.
Earnest prayer lifts the fog! It clears out our minds by redirecting us back to the Father who loves us. Our faith is not unraveled but actually strengthened during these moments and temptation can be avoided. How? God provides the way of escape! Paul wrote…
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Father, thank You for Your great love for me. Thank You for Your Spirit that lives with me and leads me. Help me to pray more and find in You the strength for everyday life. You are awe-some.