Can you grasp the concept of Jesus—the Word through whom all the world was made, the Lord to whom all men will bow—praying for us? His love never ceases to amaze me.
Here, Jesus warns Peter that Satan has asked to sift them as wheat, to put them through trials that would break them down, tear them apart and turn them away from God. Jesus' prayer for Peter is not that he would be spared from the trials, but that through them, his faith wouldn't fail.
But then Jesus says, "when you turn back, strengthen your brothers." Jesus knew Peter's faith would falter, but He looked forward to a better time, a time when Peter would be able to strengthen his brothers. Pater's ability to strengthen his brothers would come only after he had received God's grace and mercy in his weakness.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand" (Psalms 37:23-24).
So Peter wrote to strengthen his brothers: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope..." "though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:3a, 1:6-7).
In His great mercy, we live. In His grace, trials prove the genuineness of our faith to bring glory to Jesus, not because we never stumble but because when we stumble, we have a Lord who lifts us up. His strength, glory and love are revealed in our weakness. When we have received God's grace and mercy, we are able to strengthen others with it.
When I read the verse from Luke this morning, my first thought was how incredible it is to have Jesus pray for us and how desperately I needed Him to pray for me. If there was ever a time I have felt like Satan was trying to sift me, it is now. But as I wrote, the Spirit led me in a way I hadn't expected, I think to remind me...that God is sovereign; that I am never out of His sight or care; that although I will fail Him, He will never fail me; that trials are temporary and have purpose...that I can look forward to a better time, a time when I will be asked to strengthen others with the grace and mercy I have received.
Jesus, please pray for me, that my faith will not fail.