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“I have prayed for you, Peter”

Posted Sep 13, 2017

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Daily Scripture

Luke 22:31-34

31 “Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat. 32 However, I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.”

33 Peter responded, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster won’t crow today before you have denied three times that you know me.”

Reflection Questions

Where Mark recorded a generalized warning to all the disciples, Luke’s research (cf. Luke 1:1-3) led him to write that Jesus addressed a personal warning to Peter. In a touching moment, he told Peter that he had prayed for him. But the Lord responded to Peter’s “I’m ready to go with you” boast with the same somber pessimism that Mark recorded as part of Jesus' talk with the disciples.

  • Another of the self-examination questions John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, encouraged people to regularly ask (and answer) was, “Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am?” Do you believe Peter was, in some measure, trying to convince Jesus (and maybe himself) that he was better than he really was? When do you find the same tug at work in your own life?
  • Jesus told Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail.” Now (spoiler alert), most of us already know that at the end of this story, Peter’s faith did buckle, moving him to deny even knowing Jesus. Did that mean that God did not answer Jesus' prayer? What is the point of praying for someone else when we realize that God will not take away their moral freedom, and force them to do the (good) thing we’d like to see them do?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you value me enough that, through the Bible and sometimes through your Spirit’s presence in me, you warn me about dangers on my spiritual journey. Teach me how to be attentive to what you want to teach me. Amen.

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides scripture and insights to enhance your journey.

Wendy Connelly

Wendy Connelly

Wendy Connelly is wife to Mark, mom to two kids and a seminary student at Saint Paul School of Theology. She teaches classes at Resurrection Downtown and hosts an interfaith podcast, which you can subscribe to at TheLiftPodcast.org.

On a visit to a farm with my son’s Cub Scout troop, I once had the chance to sift wheat. It’s a two-step process of threshing and winnowing.  

Threshing loosens the chaff from the edible grain, and involves beating the grain with a flail against a stone or hard surface.  

Winnowing takes the loosened chaff, and separates it from the grain. During the winnowing process, the grain is tossed into the air: the lighter chaff is released into the breeze as the hard grain is flipped and caught, flipped and caught.  

In life, no one escapes threshing and winnowing. Not even Peter.  

Tragedy strikes.

Suffering befalls us.

Our identity is shaken to the core.  

Life gives us a threshing, followed by long, tumbling winnowing.  

In the midst of this painful and disorienting process, it’s easy to lose heart. Sometimes we discover our faith has been defined by borders that can no longer contain the contents of our lives. It’s as if Jesus intuits this of Peter.  

So what does Jesus do? He prays on Peter’s behalf, and infuses his painful loss and perceived failure with a future hope and purpose: “I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.”  

Are you being threshed and winnowed? Does someone need your prayers in the midst of suffering? Know that as we approach Jesus, he appeals to the Father on our behalf, giving us strength so that, when we have returned, our sifting will be redeemed so that we can strengthen others.

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