In a recent Bible study I was doing, the Lord opened my eyes to see something that I had not noticed before. It is a simple thing but it made me stop and reflect on the specialness of it.
Luke 22:31-32 says, “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.” –(NIV)
I think it is worth pondering a little deeper what each sentence in those verses is saying.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you, as wheat.”
Isn’t it interesting to note that Satan wants to get his hand in everyone’s life to try to confuse us and make us lose our focus? Just as Satan tried to win control over Jesus’ life by tempting Him in the desert, he also tries to rule in our lives.
“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
That is the sentence that really resonated with me while reading these verses this time.
Jesus actually prayed for Simon personally, that Simon’s faith NOT fail him.
Wow…Jesus prayed for Simon and his faith to be bigger than Satan in Simon’s life.
In looking at it in more “human” terms, one could argue that God did NOT answer Jesus’ prayer because Simon ended up denying Jesus three times before the cock crowed just as Jesus had predicted.
BUT, we need to look at what else Jesus said.
“But what about you? He asked. Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:15-18 (NIV)
…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. –Ephesians 2:20 (NIV)
With Jesus as the chief cornerstone, Peter is included in the line of apostles and prophets despite him originally denying Christ; in his heart, he truly believed and knew that Jesus was the Lord.
So, ultimately God answered Jesus’ prayer for Simon’s faith. It just wasn’t as immediate or timely as we might have expected.
I believe that Jesus knew that Simon would deny Him, yet He still prayed for Simon especially because of the next verse.
“And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus knew that when Peter’s faith returned, it would ultimately strengthen others.
Photo credit by John 9:25 under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The original Luke passages point out some important lessons about prayer that can apply to our lives.
–How many times does God maybe not answer our prayer in the way we think He should?
–How many times does God maybe not answer our prayer in the time frame we had in mind?
–Everything happens in God’s time under His control, serving His purposes.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. –John 14:13 (NIV)