Jesus is Praying for You!

Luke 22:31-34 (NASB) says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 34And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

The greatest comfort Simon Peter could have ever had is knowing Jesus was praying for him. The prayer was that Peter’s faith would not fail, and when he was converted, or shifted, he would strengthen his brothers. This highlights how we should pray for those who are connected to us, especially those who we are discipling and mentoring for God! Pray their faith doesn’t fail and that they are equipped with the means to strengthen other people. God “shifts” you so that you will strengthen others’ faith with a renewed confidence of who God is and the testimony He has given you. Christ’s prayer for you is not all about you, but those surrounding you and connected to you. It should provide a greater confidence in your heart knowing that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for you (Romans 8:34)! When you align yourself with the prayer of heaven, living in obedience to God’s Word, you will automatically have heaven on earth!
In order to comprehend how Christ is praying for you, I believe you can turn to John 17, the high priestly prayer and get a snapshot as to what His heavenly intercession looks like. John 17:20-23 says, “20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their (disciples’) word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Here was the prayer for future followers, which includes us:
  1. For us to be one in perfect unity of the Spirit.
  2. For us to be complete in God, indicating His Spirit to abide with and in us. Jesus has given us His glory!
  3. This unity would produce the greatest evangelistic movement that this world has ever seen.
  4. The world to know Christ was sent into the world and that God loves His people and Jesus too.

Christ’s prayers also reveal a counterattack against the plans and purposes of the enemy. Just as Satan desired to have Peter, sifting him as wheat, Satan longs to sift the church. How does Satan try to sift the church? By causing the church to meddle against one another by being distracted with petty issues that have no kingdom value whatsoever. He places and influences ideas in people’s minds to overemphasize scripture in such a way to build an entire religion out of a handful of scripture to argue theology instead of pursuing a relationship with the Father. He seeks to remove the need not only for unity but the Spirit of God, removing the thought or need of devotion to God and being filled with His glory, love and power. This disunity and lack of pursuit hinders a movement of people encountering, knowing, and seeing the love of God on display. Therefore, we must go from “sifting” to “shifting”, being converted to every means necessary to be faithful in devotion to God in prayer and fasting and maintaining unity, sacrificing any offense or idea that conflicts with the Word of God and His will for us!

Once Jesus said these words, Peter was in complete denial, saying, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And Jesus said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:33-34). It was not brought into question about Peter knowing Jesus, but it was the mere fact that he denied it! This was a knock out punch to Peter because he was just having a discussion about being the greatest in the kingdom of heaven out of their core of 12, but his pride had to be humbled. From this place, Jesus would take Peter, James and John to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus petitioned these three to “watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation” (Luke 22:40). He then went a little away from them and prayed on His own. Jesus had already told Peter what would happen, and he should have been praying, but instead of finding them praying, when He returned He found them “sleeping from sorrow” (Luke 22:45). Sleeping is not your escape from sorrow, but prayer is! It doesn’t prepare you or take care of the situation, but prayer is what strengthens your heart to endure through the pain and overcome. Jesus then said to Peter, “Could you not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40; Mark 14:37) He specifically pinpoints to Peter, the one who refused to deny Him. I believe this contributed to why when Judas and the band of soldiers came to arrest Jesus that Peter took his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest (John 18:10). Jesus would then hear this servant’s ear! (Luke 22:50-51) This whole catastrophe could have been avoided in which Peter acted within himself had he been praying instead of sleeping in the Garden. If we are not watching and praying, we could do just as Simon Peter did. Our swords can cut off the hearing of the priesthood when we are a “chosen generation and a royal (kingly) priesthood”! We should all be hearing the words of Christ, but many people’s hearing has been cut while they themselves do not realize they are part of a priesthood that can hear from God and intercede before His throne themselves because we are sleeping rather than praying! It is time for the church to be awakened to the Spirit of prayer and become carriers of revival as we are called to be!
Then, we read where three different times following Jesus’ arrest that Peter would deny even knowing Jesus, and when the rooster crowed, Jesus turned and looked at Peter, who then remembered His words to him. Peter left and wept bitterly (Luke 22:60-61). Now, Peter was facing the greatest obstacle in his faith since beginning his ministry and entering into discipleship. Should he quit and give up out of just complete remorse for what he had done, or should he hold onto the promises God had given him? Some of you have huge promises from God that are laying to the side because you cannot forgive yourself of some type of sin or mistake you have committed, or even what someone has committed against you, and now your whole belief system is in question, but just as Peter remembered Jesus prophesying his denial of Him, he also had to remember, “but when you are converted, strengthen your brothers”. Jesus was still praying for him! Jesus still prophesied a shift in his life. What was it going to be? Was he going to continue to wallow in self-pity for the rest of his life, or was he going to bounce back in total healing and victory through the testimony of Jesus? He would repent and on the Day of Pentecost win over 3,000 souls to Christ. He would pray for the lame man at Gate Beautiful and see him healed. Angels would one day break him out of prison and show forth the glory of God. People would step into his shadow and be healed! None of this would have happened if he would have never forgiven himself, received the forgiveness and grace of God and become the answer to Christ’s prayers! It is time to go from “sifting” to “shifting” in your life!