Greetings MOL Family!
Have you prayed for someone, today?
The Prayer of Jesus
Let’s begin our lesson today with Luke 22:31, 32. The disciples are seated with Jesus in the upper room. It’s the time of the last supper. Christ has been conversing with them. And now He speaks especially to Peter:
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. – Luke 22:31-32
Doubtless Peter was grieved at the thought that he needed a work of conversion. In fact, he responded immediately in the 33rd verse and said, “Lord, I am ready right now.” But Jesus told him further that he was going to deny Him that night.
Now, it is not the denial of Peter that I wish to study with you in this lesson. I want to study with you that wonderful statement of Jesus, “I have prayed for thee.” Peter didn’t appreciate it at that moment. There was something in his heart that rose up. He thought Christ didn’t understand him. He thought that Christ’s statement, “I have prayed for thee, Peter,” meant that Peter lacked something, he needed something. Which he did. And he thought he was ready, but he wasn’t.
But the prayers of Jesus in the past, and that night, finally availed in Peter’s behalf. As you read on in the story, you remember that they went out to the garden of Gethsemane, and there Christ asked Peter to pray for himself. Jesus was praying for him. But Peter went to sleep. And then, before the dawn, Peter, in the courtyard, there at the fire, had denied his Lord.
At the time of the last denial, it so happened in the providence of God that Peter turned and looked in the direction of where Jesus was standing there, before His judges, and Christ turned and looked upon Peter.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. – Luke 22:61-62
This was Peter’s repentance. It was the prayers of Jesus that brought him to repentance. And Peter remembered in that dark hour of discouragement that Jesus had said, “Peter, I am praying for you.”
In the book Education, I read:
When in the judgment hall the words of denial had been spoken; when Peter’s love and loyalty, awakened under the Saviour’s glance of pity and love and sorrow, had sent him forth to the garden where Christ had wept and prayed; when his tears of remorse dropped upon the sod that had been moistened with the blood drops of His agony – then the Saviour’s words, ‘I have prayed for thee:.. when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren’ were a stay to his soul. Christ, though foreseeing his sin, had not abandoned him to despair.
If the look that Jesus cast upon him had spoken condemnation instead of pity; if in foretelling the sin He had failed of speaking hope, how dense would have been the darkness that encompassed Peter! how reckless the despair of that tortured soul! In that hour of anguish and self-abhorrence, what could have held him back from the path trodden by Judas? – Education, pg. 89
Judas was a suicide. Peter could have been. But there was something that kept him – the love of Jesus, the prayers of Jesus, the look of Jesus. That was the lifeline that was thrown out to him. And in his great hour of defeat, thank God, the prayers of Jesus held him.
Now, my dear friend, the message I bring you in today’s lesson is that Jesus has prayed for you as He prayed for Peter.
The following is a wonderful statement. If you’ve never read this one before, you’re going to value this. I trust you will. It’s worth a lot:
Jesus pleaded, not for one only, but for all His disciples: ‘Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ His eye pierced the dark veil of the future and read the life history of every son and daughter of Adam. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, pg. 529
Are you a son or daughter of Adam? Then Jesus was praying for you.
His eye pierced the dark veil of the future and read the life history of every son and daughter of Adam. He felt the burdens and sorrows of every tempest-tossed soul, and that earnest prayer included with His living disciples all His followers to the close of time. ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.’ Yes; that prayer of Christ embraces even us. – Ibid., pgs. 529-530
It takes us in. Jesus is saying to you, my friend, as He said to Peter, “I have prayed for thee.” Oh, isn’t that wonderful that Jesus has prayed, and is praying for me, for you?
With A Far Greater Intensity
Now let’s go to John 17:20 and read in the prayer of Jesus where you and I come in. This is the prayer of Christ shortly after this talk with Peter and the others in the upper room, just before Gethsemane. His whole prayer down through this chapter is for His disciples.
Neither pray I for these alone but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. – John 17:20
So, He was praying for those who would believe on Him through their word. Well, that’s the way believers have believed down through the ages. We’ve believed on the testimony of others. All right then, this is for us. Now going back to Volume 4:
As the Prince of life, He had power with God and prevailed for His people. This Saviour, who prayed for those that felt no need of prayer, and wept for those that felt no need of tears, is now before the throne, to receive and present to His Father the petitions of those for whom He prayed on earth. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, pg. 528
Then Jesus prayed for me when He was here on earth. But He’s there in Heaven now praying for me, and ready to receive my prayers, right now. Isn’t that a wonderful encouragement to us to pray?
We do not have to awaken in the Saviour’s heart an interest in us. We do not have to knock at the door in the hope we will get some attention. It’s true we’re told to knock. It’s true we’re told to pray. But we know that Somebody’s waiting for our knock. We know that Somebody is listening for our prayers. We know that Somebody is praying for us with a far greater intensity than we have ever prayed for ourselves, a far greater intensity than we are capable of manifesting.
Notice, He prayed for Peter even when Peter felt no need himself. He has prayed for us when we felt no need. It says:
[He] prayed for those that felt no need of prayer, and wept for those that felt no need of tears. – Ibid
Ah, yes. Many a night while Peter and the other disciples were sleeping, Jesus was out on the mountain praying for them. Great tears of longing dropping from His eyes, as His heart went out in that tender, earnest plea to His Father for His disciples.
Oh, I’m thankful for the prayers of Jesus. What do you say? Who can measure? Who can measure the power of those prayers? Think of it. Reaching down to our time. Yes, that prayer of Christ embraces even us.
Well, I’m glad [even now] that Jesus is praying for me. That thought can sustain us all through the day.
Now, we in turn are to reach out in behalf of others…
The Great Means of Soul Winning
In the book Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 108, you will find that we are to pray for those that have no prayers for themselves, and we’re to weep for those that have no tears for themselves. Jesus is sending us to be to others what He was to His disciples when He was here on earth.
Suppose we see someone who is careless. What shall we do? Pray for them. Love them. As Sister White tells us in Ministry of Healing, we should pray for our fellow workers and let them know that we do. Jesus told Peter that He prayed for him. And while Peter didn’t appreciate it at the moment, he did later.
I wonder how it would affect us if some fellow worker would come to us and say, “Brother, I’m praying for you.” Well, I hope we would appreciate it. We might, like Peter, rise up and say, “Well, thank you for your prayers, but I don’t think I need them. I’m all right.” We probably wouldn’t say that, but we do need one another’s prayers, don’t we?
Sinners need our prayers. Discouraged souls need our prayers. The Lord will lay burdens on our hearts for certain ones. My point is, as there was power in the prayers of Jesus to help Peter as he went down into that dark hour of discouragement, so there can be power in the prayers that Jesus helps us to share with Him in behalf of others.
Prayer is the great means of soul winning. Prayer is the method that everybody can use. Prayer is the method that we must use, if any other method is to prove effectual. Without prayer no other means of soul winning will be successful.
So I ask again what I asked in a previous lesson, do you have a prayer list? Are there some names that you are praying for day after day, pleading with God in their behalf? Are there some souls that you are crying to God for in the secret place? Are there some people who are so precious to you that you’d be willing to give your life for them?
Is that the way Jesus was? Was He so burdened in behalf of souls that He was willing to give His life for them? He did, didn’t He? He gave His life for them. We’re not called upon to die, at this present moment; but, we’re called upon to give our lives not only in service, but in intercession, in love, and in earnest prayer.
I have prayed for thee. – Luke 22:32
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
“God must find people today who will not be drowsy spiritually, who will press through the darkness, who will learn to pray as Jesus prayed, that they may be prepared to witness as Jesus witnessed” (Elder W.D. Frazee). Learn more about theses principles of prayer, in this beautiful book with its chapter on “Gethsemane” >> Learn More
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.