“Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” Lk 22:40 NIV
You can put on your best game face in an attempt to convince others you’re doing better than you are, but deep inside you know the areas where you’re most often tempted and fail. In fact, if you are gut-level honest, chances are you keep a mental scorecard. Others may give you an A or B on your report card, but you give yourself a failing grade. And when that happens often enough, you reach the place where you start thinking, “What’s the point in asking God for forgiveness? I’m just going to repeat the same sins over and over and have to go back to Him again.” There’s a solution. Jesus told His disciples, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Mt 26:41). In other words, pray before the temptation comes and you’ll be strengthened and fortified to handle it. “But I have prayed!” you reply. Then increase the dosage and pray more! Before Jesus calmed the storm on Galilee, He spent the whole night in prayer. Turn off your TV, your computer, your iPhone, and any other outside connections, and spend time with God. What did the old-timers mean when they talked about “praying through”? Simply this: You can reach a point in prayer where you “know” God has given you the strength you need and victory is assured. Paul said, “Let us…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb 4:16 NIV). What do you need when you keep failing? God’s grace to forgive you—and His help to overcome temptation. So pray before temptation comes, and God will make you an overcomer.