3) Stand on His Promise
Prayer starts with praise of God’s character, next it clearly states the petition of the prayer, and then stands firmly in faith on the promises of God’s word for the answer.
When Jesus taught us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13a), He was teaching us to rely on His promises so as to not be led into temptation and be delivered from evil.
A promise is an assurance that something can be counted on and expected to come to fulfillment. We are familiar with the statement, “I promise.” If you have children, you certainly have heard them refute you with a painful, “But you promised!”
To promise is to give your word that something is true and/or something will be done, just as it was stated it would. As sinful humans, our words are not always worth what they should be. We fail. We fall short of our intentions. However, unlike us “Every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5) and “the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Peter 1:25) and “by the word of the Lord were the heavens made” (Psalm 33:6).
In prayer, standing on His promises is to rely on the words of God as assurance that your petition will be met. We can rely on God’s promise when we present our needs to Him. Standing on His promises is to claim the assurances of God’s word in prayer.
Lead us from Evil
In my childhood home, my parents had a decorative plaque on our hallway wall, depicting the Lord’s Prayer of Matthew 6.
I remember reading it over-and-over, as a child, and always feeling a bit perplexed about the part that says, “And lead us not into temptation.”
I use to wonder if Jesus was suggesting that we need to plead with God in desperate pleas to spare us from evil? Was this a threat?
As I became older and wiser about theology and biblical interpretation, I realized that Jesus is not calling us to beg for his mercy so He might deliver us, but to claim his grace and believe that He already has delivered us! God is not hiding behind every cloud awaiting a chance to trip us up and catch us in wrong.
Jesus is actually teaching us to rely on the promise of God, in prayer, that He will not lead us into temptation and that He will deliver us from evil!
This verse of the Lord’s Prayer, is itself a promise! It is a promise from God that he will lead us to blessings, not to temptations! He will lead us to goodness, not to evil!
We know this because God does not tempt us. James says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” –James 1:13-14.
We know that God is not against us. Peter says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” -2 Peter 3:9.
God has promised solutions for the times we find ourselves falling into temptations. Paul says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” –1 Corinthians 10:13.
Submitting to God
Knowing that God is pulling for us, that He is on our side, that God desires to empower us and not condemn us, ought to motivate us to flee to Him. When things are bad, even if it is because of our own doing, we can confidently run to Him.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” –James 4:7.
When you fall into temptation, there is no need to stay down. You do not have to feel stuck in the devils quick sand. Take heed to the lesson we find in the story of Joseph in Exodus 39. In the chapter we find Joseph facing temptation with his master’s carnally aggressive wife. Genesis 39:7 gives us this glimpse of the situation: “And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, ‘Lie with me.'”
Joseph’s response was to flee temptation. “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, and ‘Lie with me’: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.” -Genesis 39:10-12.
Joseph’s life was guided by his Master’s purpose. When our prayer lives are guided by purpose, submitting to God will be a reflex. The decisions we face will be guided not by the moment, but by our submission to God.
When God’s promises become the spirit of our prayer, God’s promises will fill our heart and guide our decisions.
Feeding or Fleeing?
In facing temptation, we ultimately must make the choice to either feed on the temptation or to flee from the temptation. We are created to use our minds and the power of our capacity to think. The truth is, we act upon what we think upon.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” -Proverbs 23:7.
“They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” -Proverbs 23:30-31.
Be careful what you think upon. The eyes are the windows to your mind. Stare at something long enough and you will see it – whatever it is your thinking you’ll see.
Fill your mind with God’s word and that goodness will guard your life in temptation. We should expect to be tempted, but we should never expect to yield to temptations.
The individual who goes through life rehearsing the “bad luck” that follows him, will unknowingly reaffirm the “bad luck” that they assume is following them. Conversely, the individual who dwells on the promises of Scripture will find an ever growing faith in God.
We have a responsibility in facing temptation. Before we leap off the diving board, we must consider the depth of the water beneath. No sane person would knowingly jump headfirst into a shallow pool. Likewise, every sin has its consequences.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall also reap.” -Galatians 6:7.
“His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” -Proverbs 5:22.
“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go on hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” -Proverbs 6:27-28.
The Truth About Temptation
1 Corinthians 10:31 is a key verse in understanding temptation. It shares insights about facing trials and tempting circumstances. In fact, there are three important facts to know from this verse.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” -1 Corinthians 10:31.
First, know that your trial or temptation is “common to all men.” In other words, Satan has not conjured up any kind of secret weapon that Heaven cannot save you from. Other people have successfully walked in your shoes, including Jesus of Nazareth.
Second, know that your trial or temptation is not “above that ye are able.” In other words, God has not allowed you to be burdened beyond your ability deal with it. Consider trials that others have gone through, that you know you could not have survived.
Third, know that your trial or temptation comes with “a way to escape.” In other words, with every trial or temptation you face, Jesus, the Way, is there! Jesus says to you, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” -John 14:6.
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” -1 Corinthians 15:57.
It is Written
The first words recorded in the Bible from Jesus, after His baptism and commencement of His ministry, were “It is written.”
Here is the account: “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” -Matthew 4:3-4.
The first words recorded in the Bible from Satan, after his fall to earth and commencement of deception against God was “Did God actually say” (Genesis 3:1, ESV).
The conflict we face is believing in the confident words of Christ or the doubting words of Satan!
God’s promises are the very focal point of our eternal destiny. Jesus gave us the example to verbally claim the very promises of God’s word. Quote His promises in prayer and stand on His word in faith!
It is the promises of God, from God’s word, which we are called to rely upon. His promises, from His word, are to be our sure foundation! Just as Jesus claimed a promise of God in the face of temptation, so should we. When He said, “It is written,” he said, “I stand on the promise of God!”
With your Bible in your hand or laid open before you, pray “I stand on Your Word. I claim in faith, Your promise.”
When my children come to me with a need and they remind me of something I once told them, it moves my heart! When my children, who I love more than anything within my power, claim my words of “fatherly advice” regarding their lives, it makes me want to move heaven and earth for their future.
I believe God Himself is even more ready to respond to us when we pray and claim His promises. Consider what Jesus said: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask?” -Matthew 7:11.
Ask, Believe, and Claim
God’s promises strengthen our faith. We can confidently believe that He will answer our prayer when we stand on His promises.
Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” -Mark 11:24.
We stand on His promises when we claim His promises. Claiming His promises is having faith in Him and His word, not in our asking or ourselves!
We can pray in faith and believe, because we are trusting in God’s word! We can return thanks for answering our petitions when we lay them before our Heavenly Father with His promises!
Do not depend on feelings, but say in faith “I believe it, not because I feel it, but because you my Heavenly Father God has promised it.”
Stand, Stand, and Stand!
Some one once told me that the Christian life is a march and a battle. However, we are not fighting against soldiers and arms, but against Satan’s trials and temptations. Scripture calls us to not be faint, but to be strong and stand. In fact, notice how many times we are assured to stand in this spiritual warfare.
“Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of devil…Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shalt be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” –Ephesians 6:11-18.
Standing on the promises of God keeps us firm against the attacks of Satan. Consider the fact that prayer is the one weapon that Satan cannot counterfeit.
Prayer is heaven’s ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and Satan has rejected its power! We are to press our petitions to the throne of God and hold on by faith in His word.
Standing Back-Up Again
Invariably the question is asked, “But what if I fall?” The response is simple. Stand back up again! If you fall while shopping at the store, do you just remain on the floor? Do you say, What’s the use, why should I even get back up, I will probably fall again some day?
No! You get back up. All my children fell when they started walking, but eventually they stayed on their feet more than they fell on the floor.
As a pastor, I have seen the same thing spiritually! People who gave their sin sick lives to the Lord, were born again, and over time became strong believers in the body of Christ.
Prayerfully we can say, Lord you said, “Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” -Isaiah 1:18.
We can place our finger on Psalm 103:12 and pray, Lord you said, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Then turn in His word to Psalm 51 and claim verses 10 – 12, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
Claiming the promises is not just an intellectual activity, either. It is a free-will act of picking up your Bible, turning the pages, and verbally hearing yourself pray, “Lord, I claim this word, I stand on this, Your promise, and though I may not feel it, I accept it by faith! Thank you for fulfilling it in my life, just now. Because of Jesus, I pray. Amen.”
Bible Promises to Claim
As you pray, include the very promises of God’s word in your prayer. Pray through the promises of God–literally! Take the Bible in your hands and pray through the promise.
Let your own ears hear the promises of God and your faith will be strengthened in your prayer.
Remember, Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Knowing which promises to turn to can be a task, if you haven’t already marked your Bible or know the verses by memory. There are plenty of books on the market that can help you choose a Bible promise by topic.
However, I want to share with you ten Bible promises that I love, because they encompass most petitions and prayer needs.
God has promised to answer… “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” -Jeremiah 33:3
God has promised to respond… “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” -John 14:13-14
God has promised His Holy Spirit… “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” -Luke 11:13
God has promised to give wisdom… “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” -James 1:5
God has promised to give forgiveness… “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9
God has promised to give guidance… “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
God has promised to give eternal life… “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” -John 6:47
God has promised to give help… “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” -Isaiah 41:10
God has promised to give success… “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” -Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)
God has promised to meet your needs… “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:19
God’s Word and Prayer
The secret to prayer is the promises of God’s word. If your prayers are lifeless, infuse them with the promises of God.
All the promises of God’s Word are available to you to claim in prayer. Take your Bible and read them while praying. As you read, believe through faith, and you will receive accordingly.
Prayer works. Prayer works when we work prayer. It requires more than a cursory approach – it demands sowing of our spiritual want, our deep heart-felt desire, and hungering after righteousness.
Begin to pray by visualizing God – not his being, but His character – as your provider, healer, banner, sanctifier, peace, shepherd, or ever-present help. Then state your prayer need. Tell your God what is on your heart, how you feel, or what’s bothering you. After that, claim a Bible promise for your answer!
As we stand, stand, and stand again we strengthen the cord of our spiritual connection with Heaven. Therefore, with the promise of God’s words on our lips, our eyes fixed on Him, and our heart’s turned toward Heaven, we are ready to share in His power!
Summary of the Principle of Promise
Having laid our petitions before God’s throne, we are now called to claim the very promises of God as assurance of answered prayer. Just as Jesus taught us to pray for forgiveness, He then taught us to rest in His Father’s assurance to deliver us from temptations. We are to stand upon the very promises of God’s word! Standing means to find our foundation in God’s promises, it is to repeat His assurances not to rehearse our ills; it is to pour every ounce of trust into what God says, not into what we fear. Prayer that stands on God’s promises is prayer that empowers our petitions.