Because Christ Prays For You

by Christina R. Fox

MARCH 2022 issue of Tabletalk Magazine

What does it mean to you that Christ prays for you?

On the night before Jesus was betrayed and went to the cross to suffer and die for the sins of His people, He ministered to His disciples’ hearts. He ate a final meal with His disciples, where He taught and prepared them for all that was to come (John 13–16). He then prayed a prayer on their behalf and for all who would come after them (John 17).

Jesus then forewarned that they would all scatter and leave Him. Peter—the disciple who always spoke too soon, the one who jumped in without thinking—asserted that he never would: “Even though they all fall away, I will not” (Mark 14:29). Jesus gently told 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” (Luke 22:31–32). He then declared that Peter would deny Jesus three times.

Satan cannot touch God’s children unless he receives permission to do so (Job 1). Satan demanded that God give him the disciples, including Peter. He desired to shake up their faith so much that they would walk away from it altogether. He wanted them to reject Christ.

But Christ. That little word “but” is so significant. “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” For God, speaking and doing are one and the same. God created the world with just a word; here, Jesus protected Peter from the assault of the evil one by His prayer.

In John 17, we read some of that prayer: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (v. 15). Peter did go on to deny knowing Christ three times. But because Christ had prayed for him, Peter’s faith remained intact. In fact, Luke tells us what happened after Peter’s third denial:

The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61–62)

Peter grieved what he had done.

Satan lives to condemn us. He wants to sift God’s people, to shake up their faith, to flip their worlds upside down so that they will turn from Christ. “But I have prayed for you.” Even now, Christ lives to intercede for us. As Paul wrote, “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” (Rom. 8:34). The same Lord who heard Peter’s denial and looked him in the eye knows our own weaknesses. He knows our temptations. He knows our failings. “But I have prayed for you.” Therefore, nothing can separate us from Him (vv. 38–39).

Rejoice that Christ prays for you.

Christina R. Fox is a counselor and retreat speaker, and she serves on the national women’s ministry team for the Presbyterian Church in America. She is author of several books, including A Holy Fear: Trading Lesser Fears for the Fear of the Lord.

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