And it came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'”
And He said to them, “Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he shall answer and say, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
“And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.
“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Jesus has been praying to His Father and, when finished, is asked by one of his disciples if he might teach them to do likewise. Jesus immediately responds with what is popularly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”. Although, like everything else that came out of the mouth of our Lord it is bursting with instruction far beyond its brevity, I have wondered over the years about the particular phrase, “And lead us not into temptation.”
Why such an utterance?