“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,” (Luke 22:31-32).
This verse has been on my heart all day today. Consequently, it was this verse that led me to do something I have never done before- today I asked my Savior to pray for me. Let me explain…
The weeks leading up to Easter were intense and joyful. During that time I wrote and posted a mini-blog series as a way to prepare hearts for Resurrection Sunday, mine included. The week of Easter I also read a daily Holy Week blog written by my former pastor. The readings were powerful, and with great anticipation I awaited Sunday.
The day of Easter the sun was shining and the temperature was a perfect 75 degrees. It was a beautiful morning of worship and fellowship followed by a blessed time with family. That evening we were also thrilled to watch the first episode of the second season of The Chosen, a multi-season series about the life of Christ. It was amazing. A perfect ending to a glorious week.
To my surprise, Monday was a struggle. I felt tired, unmotivated, and in general down in mood. And honestly, my heart’s desire was to be in heaven with Jesus (even more so than usual). Although I woke up feeling slightly better in mood this morning, it really was more of the same. As the morning wore on the words Jesus spoke to Peter played in my mind: Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you as wheat.
Jesus spoke those words during the last supper, just prior to his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. I can only imagine their shock at hearing this. In those days the process of sifting occurred by spreading out the harvested wheat on a hard flat surface. The wheat was then beaten with a club or flail in order to remove the chaff.
That’s quite the mental image of what Satan had in mind when he asked to have Christ’s followers. And it left me wondering- how often does Satan ask for me?
When I opened my Bible to the above Scripture, Luke 22:31-32, two things caught my attention: the way in which Jesus addressed Peter, and the glorious word, “but.”
Although the Greek word ‘humas’ (the plural form of you) used in verse 31 indicates Satan had asked for all of the disciples, it was Simon Peter whom Jesus addressed. Notice how he said, “Simon, Simon.” This repetition of Peter’s name conveys solemnity and emphasis, tinged with sadness and rebuke (ESV Reformation Study Bible). Jesus felt deeply for Peter. He loved Peter- and he knew what laid ahead. Because of this he also told Peter, “but I have prayed for you.” What a beautiful hope and assurance. And how personal. For the “you” in this statement is the Greek word ‘sou,’ which is a personal pronoun. Jesus had prayed specifically for Peter.
And he prays for us.
Even after the cross and the empty tomb, Jesus has continued working on our behalf as our great high priest. In John chapter 17, while he was still on this earth, we see the way in which Jesus prayed for both his disciples and for all believers in his high priestly prayer. Now as he is at the right hand of the Father he continues to make intercession on our behalf. Romans 8:34 says, “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.” Hebrews 7:25 also states, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
It is absolutely amazing to think that our Savior is even now our advocate and great defender (Hebrews 7:25, 1 John 2:1). He is our perfect priest. As John Piper stated, “He prays for us and his prayers are answered because he prays perfectly on the basis of his perfect sacrifice,” (desiringgod.org).
I have no idea if or how many times Satan has asked to have me. But I do know that in this world I will have troubles (John 16:33). Life will be filled with loss and more hard days than I can count. Low moods, trials, and tribulations will abound. But just as Jesus felt for Peter, so he feels for me. And for you. We who are in Christ are his recompense, his reward- and he will not fail to pray for us.
After time in prayer this morning- and praying that unusual request- the remainder of my day was filled with an awareness of the presence of God. Although I was home alone the majority of the day, I never felt alone. And contrary to a downtrodden spirit I felt joy and peace. I continued on with these comforting words from my Savior in my mind: “But I have prayed for you.”