"LEAD US NOT
As Catholic Christians, we know
"The Lord’s Prayer” by heart.
some of us do not fully understand
what "Lead Us
Not Into Temptation" really means. Some may wonder if
we are asking God NOT to lead us into temptation. Others ask
"Shouldn't the "Our Father" prayer read, "And Leave us not unto
temptation versus "And Lead us not into temptation?"
The Greek translation of this scripture is quite clear. It is
"And lead us not into temptation." The scripture verse
is not "leave us not unto temptation." The Greek is translated
literally as saying, "lead us not into temptation: "καὶ μὴ
εἰσενέγκῃςἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν".
are many interpretations of this particular verse, especially in
light of the following verses from James 1:12-15: "For God is
not subject to temptation to evil and He Himself tempts no one."
So, here is an interpretation of this verse (my summary from the
Catholic Encyclopedia): Interpretations of this particular
petition of the prayer — not to be led by God into peirasmos—
vary considerably. There is a range of meanings of the Greek
word "πειρασμός" (peirasmos). In different contexts it can mean temptation,
testing, trial, or experiment. Traditionally it has been
translated "temptation" and some see the petition in the Lord's
Prayer as implying that God leads people to sin.
two arguments for interpreting the word as meaning a
First, it may be a prayer appeal against an unfavorable Last
Judgment, a theory supported by the use of the word "peirasmos" in this sense in Revelation 3:10 ("I will keep you
safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole
world to test the inhabitants of earth.") The other argument is
that it acts as a plea against hard tests described
elsewhere in scripture, such as those of Job in the Old
Testament. It can also be read as: "Lord, do not let us be led
(by ourselves, by others, by Satan) into temptations".
it follows shortly after a plea for daily bread (material
sustenance), it can be seen as referring to not being caught up
in the material pleasures given. A similar phrase appears in
Matthew 26:41 ("Watch and pray that you may not undergo the
test") and Luke 22:40 ("Pray that you may not undergo the test")
in connection with the prayer of Jesus in Garden of Olives on
Holy Thursday night (the agony in the garden). So, I suspect
that the better English translation of the Greek could go like
this: "and lead us not into
but deliver us from evil.
Benedict, issuing the Compedium, explains 'Lead Us Not Into
Temptation in the 'Our Father' saying: "We ask God, our
Father not to leave us alone and in the power of temptation. We
ask the Holy Spirit to help us know how to discern, on the one
hand, between a trial that makes us grow in goodness and a
temptation that leads to sin and death and, on the other hand,
between being tempted and consenting to temptation. This
petition unites us to Jesus who overcame temptation by His
prayer. It requests the grace of vigilance and of final
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Paperback)
Breslin, a Catholic priest serving two parishes, one in Boulder,
CO and another in Nederland, CO. was born and raised in Red
Bank, New Jersey on defining "Lead us not into Temptation" in the
Lord's Prayer explains:
"What is this “temptation” that the Lord tells us to pray about?
The ultimate temptation we all face is this: the temptation to
be other than where we are; the temptation to be other than who
"How many of us spend
time wishing for a more perfect world, a more congenial
association of family members, a different spouse, a different
job, a different world? And how many of us spend time wishing I
were other than who I am, wishing that that I didn’t have this
or that problem, didn’t have this or that history, didn’t have
this or that struggle in life? Think of all the effort and money
spent on being a different “me,” less gray haired, less fat,
less lonely, more happy, more wealthy, something, anything,
other than who I am.
temptation was the temptation of Jesus Himself in the Garden of
Gethsemane: to be in a different place, to be facing a different
immediate future, to be other than this kind of Messiah. He
could have run up the hill of the Mount of Olives and run to
safety at the home of Martha and Mary and Lazarus. But His hour
had come. He was indeed the type of Messiah depicted in the
Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah; this was His calling and now
the hour had come for Him to embrace what was before Him.
"Another translation for “lead us not into temptation” is
“subject us not to the test.” Do not let us be put to the test,
namely the test of being tempted to be elsewhere, and to be
someone other than who we really are.
So, the next time you
experience the temptation to be dissatisfied with your life or
with your predicament, or with your loved ones, or with your
plight in life, or with your looks, or with your history of sin,
or with your being you, then pray the Lord’s Prayer, and pay
attention to this line: “Lead us not into temptation.
Heart of the Matter: What does "lead us not into temptation"
pray the "Our Father", we are asking the Lord to help us avoid
collapsing under the weight of the trials we all face in life;
we will not succumb to the temptations that Satan cleverly
tempts us with, for God will sustain us and bless our avoidance
of sin. What we are
praying for here is that we will not collapse in the trials and
travails of life.
(6 December 1648 – 11
August 1719) was a German Catholic priest who wrote devotional
texts which remained influential in his country for two
centuries afterwards. He had this to say: "We
ask God to avert all temptations or at least not to abandon us
when we are tempted. We cannot, indeed,
be entirely free from them in
this world, they are even necessary and useful for our
salvation: for without temptation there is not combat, without
combat no victory, and without victory no crown."
not tempt us to sin; but He permits us to be tempted to try our
fidelity or punish our pride and to give us an opportunity of
meriting rewards for ourselves by overcoming the temptations.
God is much
more than my specific adjectives of Him. He is Benevolent and
He is our Father who corrects us so that we can live with Him
forever in heaven. ALLELUIA!