Sitting in the prayer room this morning the worship team began to sing a line that touched my heart. “I have prayed that your faith would not fail.” I was struck with the tenderness of the Lord toward not only Peter but all of us.
The setting was the Last Supper in the upper room. You know, Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, Peter’s objections, as recorded in John 13 and somewhere in the mix of the evening they all had a dispute about who would be the greatest. We really are no different than the first twelve disciples are we!
It was in this context of wondering who was going to be considered the greatest that Jesus spoke to Peter specifically and said in Luke 22:31, 32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Lets consider the word sift. In the Greek it refers to ‘inward agitation to try one’s faith to the verge of overthrow. Anyone able to relate to having enough inward agitation to the verge of overthrow besides me? How about faith in verse 32? Part of the Greek meaning here is “fidelity, faithfulness, the character of one who can be relied on.”
So here we have Jesus giving Peter a heads up that the enemy was going to be showing up to mess with him but He gave the awesome encouragement that He had prayed for him regarding the matter. Jesus had prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail and part of that prayer included the concept that Peter would have the character of one who could be relied on!
I don’t know how this might be striking you but it brought such a comfort to me this morning to know that I am not in this thing alone but I have the Son of God that prays to His Father that my faith might not fail when I am ‘sifted’. I also love that He is the one that sees the beginning to the end. He was not merely seeing Peter’s imminent failure at faithfulness but the Peter who would request to be crucified upside down because he was not worthy to die in the manner of his Lord.
Just looking at this little picture of Peter consider the power of the prayers of Jesus to transform a heart….and be encouraged! He is sitting at the right hand of the Father even now interceding for you. Know that I am also going to incorporate Luke 22:32 in my prayers for you all too! It is a most excellent prayer after all.