Luke 22: 31 “Simon, Simon, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter is about to face his greatest ever crisis. He would indeed be sifted, almost to utter breaking point, yet in the midst of his darkest despair and greatest moments of anguish, he would find great comfort knowing that His Master had prayed for him.
The result of Jesus’ prayer was certain, for it is not a question of “IF” Peter turns again but “WHEN.” Jesus will get His prayer answered; Peter will turn again and when that happens, he is told to strengthen his brothers around him. When at his weakest moment, feeling so cut off from God, feeling he had blown it so severely that there was no hope for him left at all; what a deep abiding comfort it would have been to know that Jesus’ prayers would avail. One day, very soon, he would be used by God again to help fortify the faith of others. It seemed impossible to believe, but Jesus never gave a false promise, and His words were to be trusted. What a vision to keep in view in the midst of his darkest hour. On Christ the solid Rock he could stand, believing the words spoken personally to him, for as he was about to find out, all other ground would indeed be sinking sand. There would be nothing else to hold on to – nothing sure, nothing stable, outside of the promises of God.
I find it very interesting that He told Peter this, informing him of His intercession for him. Yet in contrast, there’s no record that he had this kind of a conversation with Judas. There’s the concept of divine election right there.
And what happened? Well, we know what happened, don’t we? Peter denied Him, Judas betrayed Him.
Peter came back… Judas never did, for he was never one of His (Jesus called Judas a devil – John 6:70).
And more than this, such is God’s grace that it was not a 10 year probation period before Peter was ever used by God again, but instead, just a few weeks later, in the very same city where he had denied him, he was the FIRST preacher on the day of Penetecost, and 3,000 souls were added to the Church. Astounding!
In Hebrews 13:5, our English Bibles contains the simple statement, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Yet in the original Greek text, it says far more than this. There is a 4 time repetitive statement of denial.
The Amplified Bible gets closest to the original:
Heb 13: 5 for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
There are times when it seems we are so battle weary that there is seemingly no strength left to pray. I have been there, and I know I am not alone in that. What a comfort it is to know that we have been given a supreme gift in our Great High Priest and His prayers of intercession for us.
“It is a consoling thought that Christ is praying for us, even when we are negligent in our prayer life; that He is presenting to the Father those spiritual needs which were not present to our minds and which we often neglect to include in our prayers; and that He prays for our protection against the dangers of which we are not even conscious, and against the enemies which threaten us, though we do not notice it. He is praying that our faith may not cease, and that we may come out victoriously in the end.” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology p. 403)
“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” – Robert Murray M’Cheyne
John 17: 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
Romans 8: 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Hebrews 7: 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Can you hear the words of the Master today? Whatever it is you face, hear Him say, “but I have prayed for you!”