May 4 – This week’s prayers are developed from the Blog article, ‘The Battle with Temptation.’ It is important to remember that being tempted does not mean that we are sinning – being tempted is not sinning. The greatest of saints have been sorely tempted, have resisted, and were not charged with sin. Martyn Lloyd-Jones used the analogy of a bird flying past and dropping something on us – equivalent to the temptation being dropped on us, or arising up from within. We cannot stop the temptation coming; it is how we react that is important. It only becomes sin once we act on the thought or the strong desire – by acting on it we sin.
Father, each one of us faces challenges each and every day to remain true to who You call us to be in Christ. Christian writers write a lot about the battle Christians face with the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. These three opponents make the Christian’s life really difficult – especially when pursuing a life of righteousness, godliness, purity and holiness. Some write about the battle that goes on within with pride, vanity and sensuality; others the battle with the temptations of money, sex and power.
Lord, irrespective of our weakness – and each one of us is especially susceptible to temptation in at least one of these areas – we all have times when we face periods of strong trials and temptations. I pray that You will help me to recognise when I am in a particularly intense period of temptation. Also, Holy Spirit, help me to understand which area I am specifically susceptible to temptation in. When I am enticed into sin in that area – grant me the courage, wisdom and humility to seek the way to escape the temptation without sinning.
I pray that You will help me to become especially careful not to feed that area by what I think on, allow my imagination to wander to, or dream about. If I am careful in this area – then it prevents that weakness becoming a dominant part of my life trapping me in habitual, ongoing sin. Deliver me from evil. In Jesus’ name. Amen
May 5 – Father, it is important to understand how I react to an intense period of temptation or trial. We all have times, and I suspect this is the experience of many, when we are really good at resisting, keeping our eyes on Jesus, digging in, holding on and triumphing over the test. There are other times when we seem particularly susceptible to the enticement, open to the attack, particularly weak, vulnerable and not very good at resisting.
Each of us need to understand the rhythm of our lives – it is so important in developing a good defense against the wiles of the tempter. There are seasons when we seem to go through a bombardment of temptation. Once again, Lord, ‘teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart – to keep Your word in our hearts, so that we won’t sin against You.’ To be self-controlled saying no to those things that are destructive to our spiritual health; also self-disciplined practising the things, including the Christian Disciplines, which are good for our spiritual health. For each person in or associated with our church I pray, and for all those who our church ministers to online or in person. I pray that living a life of godliness, holiness, righteousness and fruitfulness will uppermost in each of our minds. In Jesus’ name. Amen
May 6 – Sin is the greatest human problem. Our sin is terrible in God’s eyes, our nature, as Human Beings, is Fallen. We are born with a sinful nature – sin finds good, receptive soil in the human heart. The outworking of the consequences of the Original fall of Adam into sin takes place in each of our lives in unique ways throughout the whole of our lives. Sin always leads to death – spiritual and physical.
We proclaim that Christ has come so that we might know & enjoy freedom, not only from a life without meaning following the world’s blueprint for success, from sin, from self, & from Satan’s strategies & control, but also from our own inherent sinful tendencies & character flaws. We are new creations in Christ – that is the wonder of being a Christian.
As a new person in Christ, with Your life living in us, it brings the responsibility to press on towards spiritual maturity overcoming self by living & abiding daily in Your presence – being filled to overflowing by Your Spirit. May the thoughts of my mind, the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Amen
May 7 – Father, hindsight is a wonderful thing – but only if our hindsight is calibrated by Your Spirit and word. If it is not, then our hindsight can teach us lies putting our past mistakes and sins into the context of either hopelessness and a sense of despair about our progress in becoming more godly, or an overinflated view of our personal strength and ability to resist. This latter view can make us believe that we are better than another and that is why we didn’t fall into a particular sin. Yet, our pasts are littered by our failures and sins.
Sin draws us away from You into a place wherein we end up worshipping other gods, or other things instead of You. Sin is all about the human heart and our relationship with You. Sin is the corruption that prevents a healthy relationship with You. Sin always seeks to de-throne You and replace You with another god, sometimes a god of our own making, sometimes a god made by others.
As we reflect on our sin – we thank You that there is forgiveness in Christ. When we were born again our sins, though many, were forgiven and we offered a new life free from the guilt of them. The slate was wiped clean at Calvary. We pray that the message of sin, forgiveness and redemption will be clearly preached and taught. Anoint our church so that it is especially effective at preaching the Gospel in these days. In Jesus’ name and for His glory. Amen
May 8 – If we are of a worldly disposition, we can frame our past failures in the Humanist rationale of, ‘it’s just who I am – it doesn’t really matter in the long run because a leopard can’t change its spots,’ or a Religious one, ‘I will have to try harder in the future, be more religious, more devoted and try to work harder at not sinning.’ Both the Humanist and the Religious reactions set us up for defeat in the battle with temptation.
Father, the Humanist and the Religious have no power to help in the battle with temptation and sin. They misread the reasons for past success in combating temptations, or our past failure in falling into sin. As we look back through the lense of Your mercy and grace, Your Spirit and Word’s work in our lives, and the assistance of the godly example of mature believers – we are encouraged to continue to resist temptation. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. In Jesus’ name. Amen
May 9 – Father, enabling us to understand the nature of the temptations we face: often arising out of our own lusts and unsanctified desires; where they are coming from: both without and from within; and the desperation of Satan to get us to sin: to break our fellowship with You; helps us to continue to submit to you, resisting the Devil knowing that eventually he will have to flee from us.
Therefore, I dare not trust in my own strength, wisdom or fortitude; instead, I trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; I acknowledge You in all my ways knowing You will make my way straight through the minefield of testing, trial and temptation we all can face.
At this point we have the chance of progressing in our sanctification in Christ-honouring ways – of developing into a more godly person – of becoming a more worshipful, servant-hearted disciple – a stronger Christian with a Scripturally defined worldview – renewed in every way in Christ with a better understanding of how to defend ourselves against Temptation. Equip us as a church to clearly teach, preach and model these great truths so that multitudes will be converted to Christ, receive forgiveness, and be able to grow into mature disciple-making disciples. In Jesus’ name. Amen
May 10 – Father, as we mature in faith – we place redemption, renewal by Your Word, the support and assistance of Your Spirit, and Your mercy and grace at the very heart of our struggle with sin. Then both our failures and our successes all come under the cleansing and renewal of the blood of Jesus. This releases us to deal biblically with our past without allowing it to hold us back in the present. All of this equips us to live more intelligently and wisely today, and be confident about our salvation and personal integrity for tomorrow. The biblical model is to confess our sin, ask for forgiveness, and to turn away from the sin asking for the strength to gain victory over the temptation and sin in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
In order to learn from our past sins and mistakes – we have got to have a good foundation in Your word, talking to and listening to wise, godly people who have been there before us, and maintain an open healthy relationship with Christ Himself. Lord, we proclaim that when these things are in place in our lives – we can understand why we were so susceptible, why so weak in a particular area, and guard ourselves against future attacks.
The battle with temptation will continue as long as we live; however, as we submit to You, resist the Devil, stand in the armour Christ gives, and seek to live daily in the Spirit’s fullness – we can become much better at overcoming temptation and walking each day in Christ’s light, sinning less and living more righteously. We simply pray that through the ministry of our church multitudes of men, women, young people and children will step into this experience also, and become victorious, righteous, Bible-believing Christians. In Jesus’ name. Amen