Praying for others
“Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I
have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you
have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” And he said to him, “Lord, I am
ready to go with you to prison and to death!” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the
cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know
me” (Luke 22:31-34).
Today’s reading is a rich and complicated view into some of what it means to pray
•The very purpose of crucifixion, as Rome practiced it, was to terrify the followers
of any rebel, so that they would fall away from their leader and cause no more
•Jesus appears to have reconciled himself to his painful execution, but he continues
to worry that the unjust powers of this world (here identified with Roman
occupation of Judea) will have the last word, by scattering his disciples.
•Jesus’ response to this state of affairs is to pray, to turn to the power of God, so that
his followers will have more than their own strength to rely on when they are
•In this moment, Peter responds with all of his boldness and love: “Lord, I am ready
to go with you to prison and to death!”
•Jesus, who has come to know Peter thoroughly inside and out, knows that he will
not be able to withstand what is coming.
•As the story continues, we will see that Peter’s fear and cowardice do not have the
last word. After the resurrection, Peter will recover his foundation of confidence.
This passage causes us to ask at what point we can judge a prayer as effective or not.
•Jesus prayed that his disciples’ faith would not fail, and that they would have
reserves of faith, so that they could turn and strengthen their sisters and brothers.
•At first, Peter will lack perseverance and courage to acknowledge that he is one of
•But eventually he recovers his faith and becomes the central figure in earliest
Christianity, gathering and leading the core of disciples in Jerusalem.
•Jesus’ prayer had to include Peter’s freedom not to be courageous, as well as the
possibility that by the power of the Holy Spirit he would repent and eventually
become a strong disciple.
•Jesus’ prayer was open to the whole future of God’s interactions with Peter,
redeeming and strengthening him.
Questions for Reflection
•Who is on your heart today? Whom do you want to bring before God in prayer?
•What temptations have you encountered in prayer, times when you have wanted
to script a future for someone?
•What happens when your prayers are not answered as you have wished? How
does God continue to work with you and with the situation?
Gracious God, please open my heart to the prayers that you would have me offer.
Open my eyes to see the people and events that are calling for prayer. And then give
me faithfulness and confidence that you are doing more than I could ask or imagine,
to bring about the healing of the world you love. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.