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A Prayer for Strength When Facing Temptation

     No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13

     Dear Lord Jesus, as you know, this was one of the very first verses I memorized back in the summer of 1968. It was timely and encouraging then, and a little over four decades later, it’s still just as necessary. The seizing power of temptation is just as real to a nearly sixty-five-year-old guy as to an eighteen-year-old pup.

     It’d be one thing if temptation came like junk mail—easy to recognize, ignore, and discard. But at times temptation comes with such enticing, alluring, and promissory power that resisting it doesn’t seem possible, or even desired. I would despair if I didn’t have the assurance that temptation itself is not sin (James 1:13-15). Jesus, the very fact that you suffered the full fury of temptation also gives me hope and keeps me sane.

     The encouraging and timely parts of this verse, Jesus, are the “commonality” of every temptation and the promise of a “way out” of any temptation. This assures me that no matter how dark, foolish, or destructive are the things that enter my mind, such temptations are not unique to me. Such temptations are common to other believers, just like me. I’m not terrible because I’m tempted, but I am tempted to do terrible things.

     Jesus, I ask for myself and for a host of friends, bring the hope and resources of the gospel to bear at the very places we feel the seducing power of temptation the most. Whether our temptations are sexual lust or power grabs, relational setups or financial hiccups, fleeing to Tarshish or running to Ikea, medicating our pain or pampering our pride, it makes no difference—show us the way of escape. Jesus, give us grace for this one day, to prove your faithfulness and to guard our freedom. So very Amen we pray, in your all-sufficient name.

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