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Part Four:  

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Sixth Petition: 

Lead Us Not into Temptation”

Table of Contents    

The Temptation of Jesus by Satan Temptation is an invitation to sin. The source of the temptation may be the attractive, sinful conduct of other people, called the world; or the disorderly desires of our own fallen nature called concupiscence; or the malicious urging of the evil spirit, whom we call the devil.

When we pray not to be led into temptation, we are not asking to be freed from the testing of all human beings to prove their loyalty to God. Temptation as a test of our fidelity to Him is part of our probation here on earth, and the price of earning our reward in the world to come.

What we are praying for is not to allow ourselves to give in to temptation, but rather to profit from the temptation experience. The saintly interpreters of the Lord’s Prayer give no less than nine ways that we should protect ourselves from yielding to temptation and should profit from the inevitable temptations in our lives. Our prayer in this petition will be answered to the extent that we follow these rules of Christian wisdom:

  1. Be on guard against the evil spirit. Know his strategy, be able to recognize his deceits and above all, “resist him, steadfast in the faith” (I Peter 5:9).

  2. Daily examine your conscience to see how well you coped with the temptations of each day. Thank God for the grace of benefiting from the temptations you overcame, and ask His forgiveness for those to which you gave in.

  3. Periodically, during the day, look into the “book of your soul.” Read there what thoughts are on your mind, what desires in your will. Sift these interior movements by discarding some, keeping others, and acting on those which your conscience tells you are graces from God.

  4. Be suspicious of your natural tendency to go after whatever appeals to you. Avoid being impulsive in rejecting what you dislike, or embracing what you like. All temptations are attractive. Learn to practice discernment of spirits as explained by the masters of the spiritual life.

  5. Remember that we are now living by faith, which means that of ourselves we may not even recognize a temptation. Thus we must constantly ask for light from God: “Lord, that I may see.”

  6. Life on earth is a warfare and we are members of the Church Militant. We must, therefore, be properly armed with humility and prudence, and the graces that come for the asking. Christ’s admonition to the disciples in Gethsemane is addressed to all of us, “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).

  7. Be on the alert. We can get into habits of action that may dull our perception. Custom can blind us to danger and keep us from even knowing we are being tempted. We may give in before we even realize what has happened.

  8. Set yourself models for imitation. Do not follow the crowd. Come to know certain persons whose conduct you admire and whose example you resolve to follow. It may be several people. In one you imitate the person’s humility, in another fidelity to prayer, in another selfless charity, in another uncomplaining patience, in another cheerfulness under trial, in another prudent planning of work, in another devotion to the Eucharist, in another a great love of Mary, and in another a strong zeal for souls. In this way, we have a ready substitute for the temptations from the world – the attractive sinful behavior of others. We have, instead, the inspiration of good people in the world – their attractive practice of virtue.

  9. Do not live in false security. Cultivate a healthy fear of offending a loving God. This will give you the protection you need to remain faithful to Him no matter how seductive the temptations you encounter.

Come Unto Me

Copyright © 2002 Inter Mirifica
Pocket Catholic Catechism

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The picture of “The Temptation of Jesus by Satan” was obtained from The Learning Company's ClickArt Christian Graphics Deluxe product, © 1999 The Learning Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries, 88 Rowland Way, Novato, CA  94945 USA. All Rights Reserved. The image may not be saved or downloaded and is to be used for viewing purposes only.

The picture “Come Unto Me” at the bottom of the page is from the book Christian Symbols, drawn by Rudolf Koch (1876 – 1934) with the collaboration of Fritz Kredel (1900 – 1973) (trans. Kevin Ahern; San Francisco: Arion Press, 1996) courtesy of Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

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