Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Scripture selection: Luke 22:39

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.”

The time of betrayal was at hand.  Jesus asked his disciples to remain watchful, supportive, and present.  They fell asleep.

Soon all that he had predicted would come true.  They would know just how far they could fall from their bold predictions of faithfulness.

Temptation would have the upper hand for a while.

It brings to mind how, when they asked him to teach them how to pray, he taught them to say, “Lead us not into temptation,” and “Deliver us from evil.”

In their human weakness, they failed to pray like that.

As I write these words, it is evening of Ash Wednesday.  It is the beginning of the season of Lent – the solemn time of preparation for the arrival of the great celebration of Easter.

A season that will end with joy begins with solemn recollection of how the disciples – we – fail too often in our faith.

Thankfully, that is not the end of the story.

There is redemption and hope.  There was another chance for them – and there is for us – if we will accept God’s gift of grace and loving forgiveness.

Lord, once again, teach us to pray.  Lead us not into temptation.  Deliver us from evil, whenever we need deliverance.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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