“‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.'” (Luke 22:31–32, NIV84)
For the first time, I draw comfort from these verses. Previously when I read them, my mind would jump directly to Peter’s denial and I would weigh myself down in repentance for my own betrayals. In these verses, Jesus was speaking to Peter directly about what Satan wanted to do to Peter. Jesus reminds us here that He is no ordinary man and that He is even aware of what the forces of evil have planned. Note that Jesus did not promise Peter that He would prevent Satan from attacking him. What He did was assure Peter that He prayed for him and his faith. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail him during his battle with Satan and his own heart. Jesus also looked past the event to a time of restoration in which Peter would need to turn to his fellow disciples and strengthen their faith as well.
I am deeply comforted to know that Jesus is aware of the dark roads before me and that he prays for me and my faith. I am also comforted that His love, grace and compassion for me are not based upon my success in these trying situations. Like Peter, I often fail and fall short of being who I ought to be in those trying and tempting moments. Regardless, Jesus prays that we would be moved to repentance and find forgiveness and restoration in His loving arms. Finally, I am thankful that Jesus can, through my redemption and restoration, find a way to use me in His kingdom to help restore and strengthen others who are where I have been.
May we be comforted to know that our Lord and Savior knows what’s coming up in our lives and is praying for us.