March 9: “Overcoming Temptation With Prayer”

5 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

Numbers 11:24-13:33
Mark 14:22-52
Psalm 52:1-9
Proverbs 11:1-3

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Mark 14:37-38 (NLT): “Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

I don’t know about you, but temptation is alive and well in my life. Certain things cry out for my attention, and if I indulge (or overindulge), it would be a sin. The refrigerator is probably the loudest enticing voice in my life right now.

So, how do we develop the spiritual strength to abstain from that which would exploit our areas of weakness? Pray!

Jesus told the disciples to “keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” Simply put, if we pray, then there will be temptations that will not defeat us.

But we’re not talking about 5-minute prayers. In this same conversation, Jesus asked Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” So, the kind of praying that overcomes temptation is lengthy, heartfelt prayer.

How does this work? How does prayer help us to overcome temptation? Let me give you two reasons that come to mind:

1. Prayer enables us to trust in the Lord’s strength

If we are living life in our own strength, we will fall. Our sin nature cannot help but give into temptation. But, if we are keenly aware of our personal weakness and, therefore, rely upon the Lord for our strength, we will find that we have what it takes to say “no” to temptation (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

2. Prayer literally removes tempting situations

In the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus told us to pray: “And lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). When we look further at this prayer, we realize that Jesus is encouraging us to pray in the morning (we ask for bread in the morning – Matthew 6:11). So, in the morning, we are told to ask the Lord to keep us from situations that would tempt us and cause us to fall. God may remove many or all of the things from our day that would have caused us to stumble.

So, pray! Spend time talking and listening to the Lord today! Create a prayer list and go through it. Or, open up God’s Word and just start praying through the verses in front of you. But, whatever you do, pray! It is possibly the most powerful weapon you have to keep you from falling prey to temptation!


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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