Q.Why does the Our Father state, “And lead us not into temptation”? Does God willingly tempt us?
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
We commonly think of temptation in negative terms, but Thomas Aquinas teaches temptation can also serve as inducement to do good. Nevertheless, our common experience of temptation is probably the lure of something that leads us to turn away from God.
God may allow us to experience this attraction, but God does not cause evil. He may permit it, so some good may emerge, and thus he may allow us to be tempted. But only so we may realize our total dependence upon his mercy, and so we may discern our capacity to do good.
When we undergo temptation, our trials are unpleasant, and we may find little in them that is redemptive. We ask God to deliver us from evil, seeking his gift of insight that allows us to place our trials in perspective. Our prayer may not relieve our anxiety, but it can allow us to see our suffering in the larger context of a weakness that afflicts the entire Body of Christ as a result of sin.
And here we must remember the Lord’s Prayer does not ask God to deliver us from trial, which is a natural part of our life, but from sin.