“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’” (Luke 22:39–40, NIV84)
Two to three times Jesus warns the disciples to pray about not falling into temptation during this short period of time while praying on the Mount of Olives. Jesus senses something the rest don’t. The enemy is in their midst. He seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus knows that he is in the garden. He knows that Judas’ betrayal is moments away. He doesn’t want His disciples to fall into the temptation of Satan’s twisted view of what is about to take place. Jesus knows that Satan is a liar. He always twists the truth. Jesus is in fervent prayer for Himself and His disciples that they do not get drug down a bad path once the arrest takes place.
As I was typing those words I couldn’t help but see the stark contrast even in my own life. Jesus senses and knows that the enemy is present, and most of my existence is lived in a state of darkness and denial until that fatal moment when I bite the bait the enemy has placed in my path. We need to be more spiritually attuned to our reality. We need to be discerning about the enemy and his strategies. As I think about it, it doesn’t surprise me at all that Jesus dedicates the last three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer to sin, temptation and the enemy: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil.” We need to be more aware so that we do not fall into the traps the enemy places before us.
Jesus’ words from the Mount of Olives were not spoken that one time and meant only for the disciples. Jesus wants us to discerningly pray every day about protection from the enemy. I suggest the Lord’s Prayer as a great prayer to use.