I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to hear Jesus pray. What it must have been like to hear the voice of the very Son of God in conversation with his Father. Jesus, who walked on earth as one with the Father, lifting his adoration and requests to God in prayer. To hear that voice must have been nothing less than amazing, as it was that voice that changed the disciples, and the world, forever. While we can’t hear the voice of Jesus as the disciples did, we can read the words that he spoke, as they have been written down and preserved for us.
When we read verses like John 17:9, we read the very words that Jesus prayed for the disciples. Even more amazing is that later in this chapter, Jesus prays for you and for me. When we read John 17, we read the words of a prayer that was spoken by Jesus on the night he celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples: the same night he prayed ‘not my will but yours be done’ in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the same night he was betrayed with a kiss and arrested.
Jesus Prayed for All of Us
On this same night, with all the anguish and emotion and matters of eternal significance swirling around him, Jesus prayed for his disciples, and he also prayed for us. He also prayed for you. We know this because it is recorded in John 17:20-21, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me”. Jesus was hours away from the crucifixion, but he was already looking ahead to what would happen afterward. He knew that victory was coming, and he prayed for those who would accept it months, years, centuries later. I can’t imagine anything more encouraging!
Jesus Prayed for Peter
We discover through Luke 22:31-34 that on the night he was betrayed, Jesus had been praying for Peter: “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. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Like many of us, Peter truly felt that he could never deny his Lord. This was, after all, the man who was willing to give walking on water a try, and because of his unshakable devotion to Jesus, he eventually would go to prison and death. He had been with Jesus through the highs and lows of his ministry and was certain his faith was as strong as it could possibly be. Yet, Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. Jesus knew that Peter was weaker than he thought he was, and so Jesus prayed for him.
Jesus Continues to Pray for Us
Romans 8 is a favorite for many people because it holds so many truths that we can hang onto in difficult times: there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (v.1),
We are heirs with Christ (v. 17), our present sufferings will lead to future glory (v. 18), God works all things for good for those who love Him (v. 28), if God is for us who can be against us (v. 31), we are more than conquerors (v. 37), and nothing can separate us from the love of God (v.39). Yet in that chapter is a verse that we often miss, verse 34: “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.” (emphasis added)
Just like Jesus prayed for Peter, Jesus continues to pray for us. When you feel that Satan is sifting you like wheat, Jesus will not let you go. He will not keep you from the trial, but he will never leave your side as you go through it. Even when Peter failed, and even as Jesus knew that failure was coming, Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail, but grow stronger. It stands out to me that Jesus didn’t keep Peter from pain and failure, he prayed that his faith would grow because of that pain and failure.
Confidence Even in the Midst of Failure
None of us wants to fail. We would all love to be the best at everything every time as evidence that we have it all together. But the truth is that none of us have it together all the time. There will be moments when we fail. We will wish we had said or done things differently: as a parent, as a friend, as a co-worker. Mistakes will be made and we will not get a do-over, but we can rest in the confidence that the one who loves us and gave his all for us is currently and actively interceding on our behalf. When we discover that Satan is sifting us like wheat, we can turn in prayer to the one who loves us and intercedes for us. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and his grace is greater than all our sin. The forgiveness he offers us is unshakeable, and his mercies are new every morning.
Whatever failure you have in your past and whatever failures lie in your future, know that he already knows, and he still intercedes for you. He still knows that you can overcome through his power and through your testimony you will lead and strengthen others. Like Jesus, we should pray for others in their failings as well. Pray for your children, your parents, your spouse, your fellow church members, your neighbors, all in your circle of influence. Pray that when they face failure, they would come out the other side with a stronger faith and a tried-and-true testimony of what God can do through anyone willing to surrender to him in faith.
As we celebrate the Resurrection this year, let us remember that Jesus is not a storybook figure from a long-ago “Bible land,” but rather a risen King who is present, active, and interceding on our behalf every moment of every day.
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Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.
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