Peter is about to face the greatest testing of his faith and character. Satan, seeking to destroy all the work of God, is targeting the disciples as well as Jesus. Luke’s Gospel records a conversation between Peter and Jesus the night before Jesus is betrayed and crucified.
Luke 22:31-32 – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus tells Peter that He has prayed for him. He is already aware of the schemes of the enemy and has interceded to stop their advance. Jesus’ words to Peter are meant to strengthen him for the trial he’s about to face. He tells Peter when he has returned again—not if, but when—he is to strengthen his brothers in their faith as well. Jesus’ prayer has gone ahead of Peter to make a way for his success through what will be one of the most difficult emotional trials of his life.
Jesus does the same for each of us. He knows the trials and circumstances that we face, and He faithfully intercedes for our success. Peter’s testing was life changing for him. He was never the same man after that. He learned the true source of strength was not in his own resolve or impassioned pledges, but it was in who Jesus is for him. He learned the depth of his need for the Lord and the faithfulness of Jesus to meet that need and transform him through it.
We grab hold of this same truth in the midst of our difficulties. Jesus is interceding for us, and the Holy Spirit is present to assist in that needed exchange from our hearts to His. In our greatest testing, Jesus has gone before us in prayer. He ensures that we will be forever reconciled in love to Him in the time of our greatest failing. He speaks it to us in advance so that we hold onto Him when we need Him most.