I find it greatly encouraging when someone mentions they pray for me. It’s humbling to think of someone else giving up some of their time – their prayer time – and mentioning my name. So thank you to those of you who pray for my family or myself.
I find it more amazing to know that Jesus prays for me. Did you know that Jesus intercedes on your behalf? “Who is to condemn (us)? 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” (Romans 8:34 – ESV). Christ Jesus who died and was raised to life is interceding for us.
I find it comforting to think about the Christ Jesus praying for me. Yet, it is sobering when we ponder what He prays for us. I would like to think that Jesus prays for my life to go well along with some blessings sprinkled in occasionally.
But consider a couple or examples of His prayer for others.
John 17:9 – “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, for they are yours.”
John 17:15-17 – “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
So Jesus does not pray that we will escape the world and it’s troubles. Yet He does pray that the Father will keep us from the evil one. Nor does he pray that we will live an easy life. He prays for something much more important. “Sanctify them in the truth.” This means He prays for the Father to do His sanctifying and cleansing work in us. He works to make us like Christ. He cleanses us from the lies that choke our thinking or keep us in bondage. He prays for our release from the lies of the devil and the world. Though we might not like the process of sanctification, it is necessary so that we can live free from lies.
We also learn more about Jesus’ prayer when He prays for Peter. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to have you that he may 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 (Luke 22:31-32). Talk about a scary prayer. It reveals Satan’s intention to harm Peter. It reveals the possibility that Peter’s faith may have completely failed. In fact, Jesus knows Peter will deny Him. Yet He prays that Peter’s faith will not utterly fail. He also knows that Peter will turn back. And “when” you have turned again – not “If” you turn again. So Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith to survive the (or one of the) most intense test(s) of Peter’s life. Though it may shake us to think about such realities, it is a great comfort to know that Christ prays for that which is most important.
Therefore, if you know Christ, remember that He intercedes for you – not for what you necessarily want but for what you really need. With this truth in mind, go forward.