Deliver Us From Evil
It’s the reality of urban life. More people means more behavior in rebellion to the Law of our Creator. We may not be able to predict how human beings will act in a particular place, we know for certain that people are driven by self-interest. Even alone on a deserted island, I would find sin within myself. So, no matter where we find ourselves, we pray as our Lord taught us, “Deliver us from evil.”
Cities, of course, are full of broken and hurting people who live very near one another. And when newscasts about cities report crime, we hear how individuals disregard God’s law, failing to fully love one another and damaging property. So, as I move my family into Center City Philadelphia this month, I understand concerns about safety.
I have read the crime reports and seen the statistics. We will live in one of the most densely populated areas in our country. There will be days when we are distracted by crime in our neighborhood, but I do not fear this reality. When we pray each night as a family, the petition "deliver us from evil" will take on greater significance.
Do I worry about my family? Yes. My family is the greatest treasure I have in this life beside the grace that flows from my baptism. I do not want to be cavalier about this move. By God’s grace, we will be wise and vigilant in our care of our children. We will have to live differently than we did in the suburbs where our children were shielded more from the danger and suffering around them.
The fact is, the Lord already has preserved us from terrible evil—but we don't always feel the danger and are not always grateful for our Lord's provision. I pray that as the family sees tragedy and evil perhaps more vividly than before, we will turn to Christ, praying in faith for protection and deliverance.
As much as it pains us, we also are aware that our Lord may allow us to suffer evil. If this happens, we pray He will provide us the faith and conviction that great evil can be used for great good. For in our Lord's death, the greatest good was accomplished.
All of this can be prayed because we first pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” I pray that the Lord’s kingdom comes to Philadelphia as people look to Christ in faith. As Luther reminds us in the Small Catechism, “The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.”
My reasons for moving initially included wanting to better support Pastor DeGroot with his work in the Northeast, to work closely with our vicar in the city , and to cultivate the work of Logos Lutheran. I see this move in light of living out “Lord’s Prayer Christianity,” where our daily lives are centered around petitions to Our Father.
So, in a very real way, we request and plead for your prayers that Our Heavenly Father would daily preserve us from evil and strengthen our faith in the face of what we might encounter. Amen.