Prayer for Temptation: Jesus as Our Example
If you are looking for a good prayer for temptation, you’ve come to the right place. My goal is to look at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and use him as our example. We will study him and learn to apply his tactics to our lives.
We will talk a bit about what temptation is (because it is different for all of us). Lastly, we will review some Bible verses for overcoming temptation to fill your arsenal with spiritual ammunition.
Quick Prayer for Temptation
Lord, Let me soak in Your truth that comes from Your Word. Allow it to fill me with everything I need to battle any temptation. Whenever I am tempted, help me to turn to Scripture just like Jesus did when He was tempted. Let my actions glorify You in everything I do, Amen!
How to overcome temptation
Ok, before we jump into overcoming temptation, let’s first look at what temptation is and what it looks like in scripture.
According to Merriam Webster to tempt means: to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain. Common synonyms are: allure, bait, beguile, entice, seduce
We first see temptation in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells us that the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field. He enticed Eve with promises of gain (you will be like God) and she believed him. To the demise of the entire human race.
Fortunately, scripture is full of people who have both succumbed to and overcame temptation and they leave us with great examples of what works and what doesn’t. If you are wondering how to overcome temptation, look no further than the word of God. Jesus, in my opinion, gives us the best example.
Jesus Overcomes Temptation
Let’s read the entire story of Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness. After his baptism, he goes into the wilderness and fasts for 40 days in preparation for his ministry. Satan sees an opportunity and grabs it.
And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:2-11)
What can we learn about temptation by this story?
- Satan knows when we are weak. Jesus hadn’t eaten for 40 days.
- Satan wants us to doubt who we are “if you are the Son of God…”.
- The word of God is your greatest defense. Notice that Jesus uses scripture to resist each of Satan’s attempts.
- Satan knows the Bible too and will twist scripture in an effort to cause you to doubt. Don’t fall for his tactics.
- The Matthew account tells us that angels ministered to Jesus. God provides us the strength to resist Satan’s advances.
How can prayer help us overcome temptation?
I have often wondered if Eve had called out to God during her temptation if God would have removed the serpent from the garden. At that point, she would’ve made a decision that she did not want to disobey Him and I’m confident that God would’ve provided her the strength she needed.
This brings us to the answer for “How can prayer help us overcome temptation”?
God provides you with the strength you need to resist temptation.
We know that God hears us when we pray. Scripture confirms this.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)
God does not leave us alone in our temptation. When we pray, He gives us strength, helps us, and lifts us up.
When we pray, we are confessing to God that we’ve decided to follow Him instead of succumb to Satan. We are declaring our loyalty to Him and our desire to serve Him. God always responds when our hearts are humble like this. Will He send fire down from Heaven and burn up the temptation? Probably not, but the more you call on Him and see His power in your life, the stronger your faith becomes and the stronger your resistance to sin.
Bible verses for overcoming temptation
I have rounded up several Bible verses for overcoming temptation. Study them, write them down and hang them on your fridge, memorize them. Not only do these help you use God’s word against Satan, but they encourage you to look at temptation from a spiritual perspective.
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Jesus instructs us to resist temptation with two tactics. First, we need to be aware and watchful of temptation so that we can recognize it. Secondly, we need to remain prayerful.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
You don’t have to fight temptation alone. By confessing your sins and bringing them out into the open, it reduces Satan’s power over you. This does not need to be a public display, but in confidence with a strong Christian. Asking a strong Christian to pray with you, will bring you even more strength. It will also give you some accountability. Which is something we all need no matter how far along we are on our Christian journey.
1 Peter 5:9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Don’t let down your guard! Satan is after you and can sniff out the moment you let down your guard.
Be sober: be clear headed and earnest.
Be vigilant: Alert, watchful of danger.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Always be aware that temptation is a spiritual battle. It needs to be fought on a spiritual level which is why, again, prayer is so helpful! Need more verses on this topic? Check out “27 Spiritual Warfare Prayers and Scriptures for Your Whole Family”
2 Timothy 2:22
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
I love that Paul uses the word “flee” as in run away from it as if your life depended on it. This verse contains two separate commands. First, remove yourself from the temptation and secondly, turn your attention and efforts toward righteousness.
Prayer for Temptation
Are you looking for a prayer for temptation? Something to default on when you need help? I highly encourage you to pray scripture. When we pray scripture, we pray God’s words back to Him. We know those words are true and powerful.
In Hebrews chapter 4, Paul compares the word of God to a sword that no one can run from. Use that sword, my friend! Make it powerful in your hands as you come before God with humility, knowing that He alone can set you free.
How do you pray scripture? I go into detail in “Why Praying the Psalms is a Blessing and How to Go About It” but the just of it is really personalizing scripture.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Declare these words.
Jesus, my High Priest, you know my weaknesses, you were tempted just as I am tempted. You overcame your temptation. I come to your throne seeking mercy and grace. I know you hear me, I believe that because you overcame the world I also can overcome the temptation that plagues me. My power to overcome temptation is through your mercy and grace.
Here is another example:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
Declare that strength, confess it, believe it, and remind God that He promised it to you!
My God, my Lord and Savior, I cannot resist sin on my own accord. I am not strong enough to endure the trial before me. You have said in your word that you will provide me strength and that I can do all things through your strength. I am handing over my own struggle and resting in your strength.
I have a good post on handing things over to God as well. For further encouragement, check out “How to Let God Fight Your Battles: The Story of Jehoshaphat”.
Ok, one last example of prayer for temptation.
He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
Dear Lord, you know I am weak. You know what plagues me, threatens to separate me and you, but you have given me hope. You have promised to give me strength, to help me soar on eagle wings, above the temptation, above the fear, and above the pain. I am running to you, lift me up in your strength and peace.
Guess what?! I have a post on this too 🙂 Check out “What Does it Mean to Mount Up with Wings Like Eagles?”.
There you have it! I hope these verses and prayers for temptation have met your needs and have given you the confidence and words to fight Satan’s fiery darts!