“I have prayed for you” – Five precious words. Those are the words of Jesus to Peter. “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32). When the disciples were arguing about who should be the greatest , the Lord after answering their question turns to Peter & tells him that Satan has desired to sift him as wheat ( Luke 22:31).The word ‘desire’ means to demand (for trial); to ask from, demand of. Satan demanded Peter from God to sift him as wheat.
Luke 22:32 goes on to say,”….but I have prayed for you”. Jesus prayed for Peter in spite of knowing that he would deny him thrice and also knowing that Satan wanted to destroy Peter. Thank God for those who pray for us and intercede on our behalf. Some of us are still standing today because someone prayed for us when we were being assailed by doubts, disappointments, discouragement and were deviating from the right path.
The word, ‘prayed’ in Luke 22:32, means to beg (as binding oneself), that is, petition; to beg, request, beseech, pray. This was not some wishy washy whimsical (determined by chance or impulse or whim) prayer. This was earnest pleading. This was Jesus petitioning the Father against the will and desires of Satan, the adversary, on behalf of Peter. There was fervency and urgency along with genuine care and concern.
What was the prayer that Jesus prayed? “Thy faith fails not.” Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith should not fail. We take faith for granted. Sometimes we are absolutely sure that we will not succumb to any temptation or will come through anything because we have faith. We need to be on our guard. 1Co 10:12 says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
Peter was self-confident and self-absorbed not knowing the pride of his own heart and having no clue about what was being transacted in the heavenly realm. But Jesus prayed for Peter in spite of knowing that he would completely disown Him. Peter’s denial meant that he would deny utterly, that is, disown and even refuse to recognize Jesus not once but thrice in one night.
It’s easy to give up on praying for someone especially when they fall or fail, but praying for someone knowing that they will utterly disown us requires great grace in our hearts. Samuel the prophet speaking to the people of Israel says in 1Sa 12:23, “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.” To cease is to stop or refrain from continuing an action. How many times have we ceased praying when the victory was just round the corner and failed to see light break into the darkness?
The outcome of Jesus’ prayer……”and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”… ‘When’ not ‘if.’ The answer still awaited a time in the future. That’s what praying in faith is- Knowing that the answer will definitely come. The answer was being converted, i.e, to return, turn back, to come back .There was going to be denial & desertion on Peter’s part. But he would return and after that He would strengthen (confirm, establish) the brethren because Jesus prayed for him.
He would fulfil the purpose God had for him. Jesus prayed for Peter and was also instrumental in restoring him. O! How great is the love of the Saviour!” I have prayed for you”. What a glorious triumph in prayer! Martin Luther said, “Prayer is a strong wall and the fortress of the church; it is a godly Christian weapon”.
When Peter was put into prison by Herod, as we read in Acts 12, prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for Peter. Act 12:5 says, ” Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him”. “Without ceasing” means stretched, strained; (Metaphorically) earnest, zealous. The word is used in 1Peter 4:8(KJV), where it is translated as fervent. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Having fervent charity and praying without ceasing are closely interconnected. You pray for those whom you love and you love those whom you pray for. The prayer of the Church brought about super natural deliverance for Peter. Do we remember those who are in prison because of their witness for Christ? Heb 13:3 says, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body”.
Dearly beloved, let us love one another fervently & continue to pray for one another knowing that in due season we shall reap what we sow. Let us imitate our great High Priest Jesus, who lives to make intercession for us.
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