[Jesus said] I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
The Heavenly Father Protects You
“Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is.” So wrote C.S. Lewis in his famous book, Mere Christianity. He was correct. This world is not our home. Heaven is our home. Jesus knew this better than anyone. Jesus knew from personal experience how difficult it is for God’s people to live in a world ravaged by sin and under constant attack by Satan. That is why Jesus prayed for his disciples the night before he went to his death. He knew his disciples would face temptation and persecution and poverty and imprisonment.
Knowing this, we might expect Jesus to pray for his disciples to be delivered from this world. Why not just ask the Father to whisk them right to heaven so they could avoid all the evil and opposition that the devil throws against Jesus’ followers? The reason Jesus prayed as he did was that he had work for his disciples to do. They would take the good news of forgiveness and eternal life to the ends of the earth. So, rather than ask the Father to take them out of this world, Jesus prayed that his Father protect them.
Jesus asks his Father to do the same for all of his followers, including you. He knows about every temptation you are facing. He knows about every trial you are undergoing. He knows about every trouble you are enduring. He knows that temptations, trials, and troubles are part of living in this sin-filled world. But he does not ask his Father to take you out of this world. There is work for you to do. You have people to love and serve. You have God’s good news to share. Your heavenly Father will answer Jesus’ prayer. He will give you strength to do this work and protect you from the devil until your Father DOES, in his time, take you home to heaven.
Heavenly Father, I humbly ask you to protect me from the evil one that I may carry out the important work you have given me to do. Amen.