Wrestling with the challenge of evil

Where is God when evil seems to triumph? How can we pray, what can we pray when God seems powerless? Theologians have struggled with these questions for centuries, but there are no neat answers.

updated March 5, 2022

In his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6 , Jesus taught,

“This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
 And forgive us as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
artwork photographed by Dr. Aletha

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Practice of Prayer

by Margaret Guenther

By the time I found this book, the author, Margaret Guenther had already passed away, December 11, 2016, at 87 years old. Among other roles, she was the Assistant Rector of St. Columba Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. She had served as a spiritual director and retreat leader, but the only position that touched on medicine was as a volunteer at a home for unwed mothers.

In this little book, she used her theological education as well as her personal life experience to address practical questions that everyone has, Christian or otherwise-like this one, the question of why evil exists.

Writing in The Practice of Prayer, Episcopal priest Margaret Guenther says

“I have great respect for evil and become uncomfortable when we trivialize and try to domesticate it, or even turn it into entertainment via mediocre movies. Most simply put, it is manifested in consistent, conscious choices made in diametrical oposition to the God of love.

Where is God when evil seems to triumph? How can we pray, what can we pray when God seems powerless? Theologians have struggled with these questions for centuries, but there are no neat answers.

Ultimately, we are left with Job, baffled yet willing to let God be God. (Job, a Bible character who suffered multiple undeserved tragedies.)

The question of evil will not go away that simply. We are supposed to be praying and, quite possibly wrestling as well- with our questions, with our doubts, with God. ”

Evil, whether in the actions of an individual or in the behavior of whole nations, is a challenge to our prayer.

Margaret Guenther. from the book

Are you praying for the world’s deliverance from evil?

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Thanks for joining me to consider the Lord’s Prayer and Rev. Guenther’s teaching. I hope to share more from her so please come back. I invite you to

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Why we pray the Lord’s prayer

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him,

“Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.but deliver us from evil”

Luke 11:1-4, and Matthew 6:9-13, ESV

artwork photographed by Dr. Aletha

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

This prayer, by God’s grace, holds the promise of changing your life and my life—to help us live day by day and moment by moment in loving dependence on God.

Lane T. Dennis , how the Lord’s prayer affected 9/11

Lane T. Dennis is president and publisher of Crossway Books and Good News Tracts. Dr. Dennis earned his BS in business from Northern Illinois University, an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary, and a PhD in religion from Northwestern University. He is the author and/or editor of three books, including the Gold Medallion-award-winning book Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer.

Dr. Dennis serves as the Chairman of the ESV (English Standard Version) Bible Translation Oversight Committee and as the Executive Editor of the ESV Study Bible. Lane and his wife, Ebeth, live in Wheaton, Illinois.

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My Reader Rewards Club is a great way to earn free books and Bibles for yourself, friends, and family! Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts HERE.
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Dr. Aletha

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