Sometimes You Fight, Sometimes You Fail

And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one (Matt. 6:13 NLT).

Time for a brief review: Lord’s Prayer 101.

The prayer Jesus gave us to pray is recorded in two places in the New Testament. The most familiar version, the one repeated weekly in many churches, is found in Matthew 6.

Matthew’s version of the prayer falls nicely into two parts, each part containing three petitions or requests. The first set of petitions is God focused: the hallowing of God’s name, the doing of God’s will and the coming of God’s kingdom.

The second part is made up of petitions that deal with us and our needs: daily bread, forgiveness, and being guarded from temptation and evil.

This is the most commonly observed structure of the Lord’s Prayer: Two sets of three, or 3+3. This is helpful. Furthermore, it is true. But there is another way to understand the prayer.

Our Deepest Prayer

Rather than seeing two sets of three, the petition that asks God to glorify or hallow his name is seen as the anchor of the entire prayer. The honoring of God’s name is our deepest prayer. And everything else is a means by which God does that.      

God’s will is done and his kingdom is established so that his name will be honored and hallowed.

God provides daily bread not simply to feed us, but to magnify and hallow his name.

God forgives, and we likewise forgive, so that God will be glorified, his name hallowed.

Everything in the prayer, everything about our lives, is ultimately about showing that God is at the center of our lives and worthy of our deepest affections. In this God’s name is hallowed. And we hallow his name even in our battle with temptation. When you fight temptation, the name is hallowed. And even when you fail, the name can be hallowed.

When You Fight Temptation 

Every time you resist temptation you show with your life that God is better, more satisfying, than whatever it is that tempts you. John Piper writes that “In temptation sin comes to us and says, ‘the future with God on his narrow way is hard and unhappy, but the way I promise is pleasant and satisfying’.”[1]

When you fight temptation you name the lie, and you choose God: God over gossip or greed or lust or revenge. When you fight temptation the name of God is hallowed. It has been said that “lead us not into temptation” implies an acknowledgement of our weakness. “Deliver us from evil” acknowledges God’s power. That’s why, when we pray these words, we honor and hallow God’s name.

When You Fail

But what if you don’t put up a fight? What if you simply give in, or maybe you fight the temptation and fail. God’s name is not hallowed by our shame-filled promises to do better, to never do it again, to make up for our failure.

When temptation seems to have the upper hand God is honored by those who confess and tell the truth and then look to the mercy of the cross. God is glorified in genuine repentance. God’s name is hallowed by a contrite heart. This is not a perfunctory “I’m sorry” that allows us to run off and indulge our favorite temptation. It is a plea for grace: grace that pardons and grace that gives strength to fight again.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he hallowed the name of God. He did what he taught us to pray – and we can do the same. God is better than bread. God is better than fame. God is better than power.

That’s what Jesus said with his life.

What are you saying with yours?


In all that comes my way today, O God, I want to hallow and honor your name. Grant me grace to fight familiar temptations and their empty promises. And when I fail, grant me the grace that Jesus secured through his death on the cross. Let my life hallow you name, in the fight and even in failure, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] John Piper, Living by Faith in Future Grace, p. 326.

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