“Deliver us from evil” (a phrase from ‘the Lord’s Prayer’) doesn’t mean “make us nicer people”. Rather, it asks God to protect us from a force that can trap or imprison us (otherwise why would we need deliverance?) Yes. Evil is a force, and it’s not just the Bible that sees it that way. Science fiction often treats evil as a force – for instance, in the Star Wars films. In the Bible passage that introduces the Lord’s Prayer the original Greek speaks of the evil and some English versions translate it as the evil one – in other words, the Devil. But does anyone still believe in the Devil, demons, or evil spirits?
I’m writing this during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic when the whole world is anxious and many Christians are talking about ‘spiritual warfare’. All prayer is good, but not all types of prayer are right for everyone. This unseen virus offers a metaphor for the forces to be fought in spiritual warfare. But we must be selective.