We certainly need protection and deliverance from evil. Evil is everywhere whispering at us, suggesting alternative paths and views or tormenting us, at our indecision or right choices, even.
You can see, feel, taste evil. It is a tangible energy, if you develop awareness and discernment. It is so much more than sin, which we perceive to be an absence of love, an inaction for love, simply healed by correcting your path.
We desperately need God’s help to avoid the temptation to follow a false voice or path, that might set us, unfortunately, toward evil and continuing wrong choice, which leads further away from love toward deliberate intent. We need the gifts of the Spirit to help us in our struggles against evil. And the power of prayer!
Discernment, knowledge, truth, will all aid us. But remember that the Spirit had not yet been sent, when Jesus prayed these words, it may have been a prayer for fulfillment of his Passion, so that the Spirit would indeed come to be with us, so that we would have gifts from God to help us in our fight against evil.
For we are so much smaller and weaker than Jesus was. And need all the spiritual help we can use.
Jesus chose, very deliberately and consciously, to go through his Passion, such that he would vanquish evil through the power of love and mercy and lift us all into life, everlasting, with him.
These words are a prayer, that we may all remain strong and true to God, defying all evil, relying totally on the Father, who is absolute love, to protect us, including Jesus himself, who had to go through torture and death, literally to hell and back again, before Mercy could be freed, life restored and the Spirit set free, as a messenger into the world, for all time.
Let us remember that this prayer is also Jesus request for himself, as well as for us all, that he would also be able to stay strong and true to the Will of the Father, no matter what assailed him and that will is, most assuredly and ultimately, always love and mercy.
For mercy, above all, is a gift of pure love that overcomes all evil.
Where Mercy is, no evil can exist.
This is the message of the cross and the affirmation of this prayer. This is our prayer of protection.