When you read the headlines in the news these days you cannot help but come to the conclusion that there is something desperately wrong in our world
How do you account for the existence of evil in our world?
How do you respond to evil……
in its general existence in other places in the world?
…in our own nation?
…in our community?
…when you experience it personally?
Various ways of responding to evil:
Do you have a “no fault” response? It just is, or perhaps for you evil as a separate category does not really exist – it’s just a more extreme version of “bad.”
Do you project responsibility for its existence, and therefore the responsibility to do something about it, onto others – society or certain cultures, levels of government, national and international corporations, political leaders, individuals?
Do you take guilt onto yourself – i.e., you are at fault – the cause – for what you have experienced at the hands of others?
*Note: All of these responses, or reactions, can take place not only on a personal level but also on a national, a provincial, and a community level.
Learning to pray the Jesus way
presents us not so much with words to be repeated or even a model to be followed but an orientation toward God and a shift from our natural self-centered lives
Begins with a focus on God and our relationship with him
Much like worship – or perhaps better yet, as a part of our worship – prayer centers around God’s purposes in our world
…that his name would be honored
…that his kingdom would be established
…that his will would be done
Places our needs and our requests within this perspective
…for our daily subsistence needs
…for the freedom of forgiveness
…for the power to resist temptation…for deliverance from evil
Clarifying the meaning of two key words
to rescue, to liberate or free; to help out of distress; can include a sense of protecting or guarding; has a similar meaning but in a narrower sense of “to save”
in all uses of the word in the NT God is the one who delivers and people are the ones being delivered
can be focused on a future time, referring to our ultimate deliverance when Jesus returns and God sets everything right in this world
that which is bad or harmful resulting in trouble and suffering
the result of a will which has turned away from God
that which is contrary to God
more than the absence of good it’s the result of the exclusion of God in our lives and living according to his purpose as his image bearers on the earth
Actively praying, “Deliver us from evil” → Confronting the reality of the dark side
Three key aspects:
1) “Deliver us from the evil one”
a possible and common translation of the words of Jesus
refers to a “sub-personal” or “quasi-personal” being (N.T. Wright) also called the devil or the satan (not a name but more of a title or description – “the accuser”)
important to recognize the reality of the evil one while avoiding two extremes – two equal errors in which many people fall:
attributing more power to the evil one and to attribute a direct responsibility to it/him for every problem and suffering in our lives and in the world