When Jesus Prays For You
I’m not sure if it’s right or wrong, but I find it to be comforting when someone I perceive to be spiritually stronger than I am prays for me. I suppose that subconsciously it feels like God is more likely to answer that prayer because of their impressive faith. That may or may not be the case, it’s natural to feel comforted by the prayers of others we respect spiritually. If that is true of human sinners who pray for us, imagine what it would be like to have Jesus Christ himself pray for you. Now that would be encouraging!
Peter, one of the twelve disciples, had that very privilege. As the hour of Jesus’ death was closing in, Jesus tells Peter that he is under direct Satanic attack. The devil is after Peter, and wants his head on a platter. But Jesus follows up that fear-inducing statement by letting Peter know that he has prayed for him.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
These startling words are followed by Peter’s vow to never forsake Christ, which we all know is not what happens. Despite Peter’s initial zeal, when push came to shove he denied even knowing Jesus three times, just as Jesus said he would. What a heartbreaking and crushing moment for someone who genuinely desired to follow Christ! Yet we also know that Peter later regrouped his faith and went on to be a faithful apostle who was eventually martyred for his commitment to his Lord.
I don’t think it’s unfair to conclude that if Jesus had not prayed for Peter, the story would have ended much differently. Instead of bouncing back from his denials of Christ, Peter likely would have never regained the faith he apparently once had. His faith would have suffered a fatal blow from the devastating guilt of betraying his Lord. Satan would have gotten the better of him, leaving Peter down and out, never to recover again.
What power there is in the prayers of Jesus! Notice that Jesus does not say to Peter “if you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”. No, instead he says “when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”. See the confidence that Jesus has concerning his petitions to the Father. Jesus knows without any doubt that when he prays, God listens. And if Jesus prays for something, it happens.
Not more than likely.
It just happens…every time.
Jesus Prays For You
What is truly remarkable to think about is that Jesus’ prayer for Peter is not unique. It is not a one-time incident of Jesus being extra nice to someone. It is, rather, the norm for Jesus to pray for his followers. In fact, a major component of Jesus’ current activity is praying on behalf of the saints on earth. At this very moment, and at every hour of every day, Jesus is praying for his followers.
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 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. (Romans 8:33-34)
In heaven, Jesus makes intercession for Christians. That means that he is praying for us – even when we are not. This prayer ministry of Jesus seems to focus on the same thing that was Peter’s problem: the faith-attacking work of Satan. Romans 8 asks, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” There is an answer to that question. The one who brings charges against us is Satan! Revelation 12:10 says that Satan is “the accuser” and that he accuses God’s people “day and night”.
You can almost picture this heavenly scene with your imagination. Satan is there, before the Father, pointing out all of your sins. He is accusing you of wrongdoing, of breaking God’s commands, of committing idolatry and rebelling against God…and, of course, he is right! We all sin, and have reason to be found guilty before God.
Yet, also in the throne room is none other than Jesus, the lamb slain for sin, interceding on your behalf. As Satan screams out “sinner!”, Christ shouts out “redeemed!” As Satan demands “give him to me!”, Christ counters “he is mine!” As Satan accuses “he is faithless!”, Christ proclaims “I have prayed for him!” In the presence of God, Jesus is making intercession for you and I. He is praying, like he did for Peter, that our faith would not fail us. And just as Jesus’ prayer worked powerfully for Peter, so too it will work powerfully for you.
Not more than likely.
Turn Again and Be Strengthened
Friends, when you are feeling weak in faith…When you sin and the guilt begins to crush you…When you feel like you simply can’t measure up to God’s standards…When you feel accused and attacked…When you feel like God couldn’t possibly forgive you…When you doubt that you can ever stand before God blameless…
…Look to Jesus and hear him say to you with confidence, “Fear not, my child. I have prayed for you.”