Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples
- Satan's Desires
- The Destruction of Souls
- Cause the Saint to Fail
- Peter's Conversion
- to convert or come again
- Repent of Pride
- Repent of Betrayal
- Christ's Intercessory Prayer
- It's Personal
- It's Present Tense
- It's Specific
All right. Two passages tonight, Luke chapter 22 and that will be kind of our text passage, but we are also going to reference Ephesians 6. We will start at Ephesians 6 and then go to Luke chapter 22, because we are looking at the prayer life of Christ. And in Luke 22 is a prayer, it is a very important one, but I think something that kind of is a good intro is Ephesians 6. So most know that in Ephesians 6:10, the Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit, tells us that we are supposed to put on the whole armor of God and that we need to fight, and be at it. But at the end of that section in Ephesians 6:18 he says, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
And so as we begin, we are going to be talking about Jesus prayer for his disciples. And here in this passage in Ephesians 6 notice the "alls." He is saying praying always, alright, so that is kind of an "all." With "all" prayer and supplication in the spirit and watching thereunto with "all" perseverance and supplication for "all" saints. I think he is trying to get a point across. That is all prayer, and always praying, all perseverance, and all the saints. And then notice the piling up of strong words, the supplication and prayer and perseverance, the strong expression there. In verse 18, where it says, watching thereunto. That watching thereunto, literally means being sleepless thereunto. So Paul realized the natural slothfulness of man, especially when it comes to prayer. So in essence, he says, being sleepless unto prayer. May it be true of us that we could be sleepless unto prayer. May it be true in our hearts, that God could develop in us and strengthen us enough that for each other we would be intercessors in prayer.
Heavenly father, I pray that as we look at your prayer this evening for your disciples, it would help us, Lord, it would challenge us, Lord, to be intercessors and intercessory, in our prayer life. But we would intercede for each other in prayer, for our fellow brethern Lord, and even for the lost world. Somebody needs to be praying for them. We have folks that are unsaved. We have folks that we know and we get irritated and we get mad. How much time do we really spend in prayer for their souls? The plight of souls lost and dying going to hell. Lord, I pray that it would be heavy upon us, would drive us to our knees and we would pray more for each other and more for the lost. Lord as always, do that which I cannot do and that is speak to hearts. We ask and claim your power in Jesus name. Amen.
So our text is Luke 22, now Luke 22. So this is after, kind of, the Last Supper in Luke chapter 22. And then I am going to start in verse 24 because I think the context is fitting. And you will see in the context why I have named this 'Jesus Prayer for His Disciples.' You are going to disagree, all right, but I believe you are wrong. But in verse 24 it says, "And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest." And I was not there, so you know they are all wrong. "And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles, ..." and he talks about it. And then he says, so who is going to be the greatest, I am among you. That in verse 27, "For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations." And he continues talking with them about that because here is this discussion of who is going to be the greatest. Christ is coming to the end of his life and I am sure he is just throwing up his hands like, what in the world. All right, I have been with these guys three years and they still have not got it. Okay, so don't be frustrated. All right. Jesus was a little frustrated, I think with his disciples. But then we come to verse 31, and here is the prayer. And this is why I call it the prayer for his disciples. "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 are converted, strengthen thy brethren." And the reason I say it is the prayer for the disciples, I am in a good group of people that agree on this. I looked up at least five, maybe eight different other commentators, and the grammar, for the word 'you' in verse 31. Two times the word 'you', Satan hath desired to have 'you' that he may sift 'you' as wheat. All right, that 'you' is plural. So it is more than one person. And I think the context before them, before this passage, that we are reading is included in it because guess what the disciples were just doing, arguing on who would be the greatest, what brought down the world, basically---pride.
And so I think that Christ is seeing this and it is a prayer for the disciples saying, man, you do not know Satan and that idea, in verse 31, Satan hath desired. That desire, it is the idea that he wants to come and take you. That is his goal, his plea. It is like he went before heaven and is saying, hey, I want to get those guys. That is Satan's desire. And so we are going to be looking at Jesus' prayer for His disciples. And I think the first thing that you see is Satan's desires. I think all of us will remember that passage in Ephesians 6, Paul is saying, praying always with all prayer. Why do you have to do that? The reason is earlier in the passage when he says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
You know why Christ is saying you need to be careful? It is because there is a Satan and he has a desire, and his desire is to go and to keep people from being saved. But then those that are saved, he wants you ineffective, he wants you worthless as far as the ministry of Christ. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Remember Ephesians 6 and starting in verse 10, all the way through 18, that is written to Christian believers. It is written to the church at Ephesus. These are believers. And what Paul is saying is you better be in an attitude of prayer. Why? Because this is not a game, we are not joking around here. And I think sometimes we get that idea, oh it is a small world, right? We were talking about that this morning in my class, because we were talking about being committed to God.
And I think sometimes we get this idea that, you know what, I am going to be committed to God and it is going to be easy. No it is not, why? It is not always going to be easy. You know, what is going to happen sometimes... I was joking with my class and I said, you know, I don't know if it is the Munchkins or whatever it is, but they are coming along side you, and they are singing the work song and hammering like, "I've been working on the railroad..." And we are all just going out on the bus route and, oh the little Munchkins are out, no it isn't. I am telling you what they are going to bite you or whatever. I mean, sometimes it is tough. Sometimes it is hard. And that is why this morning in our class we were talking about, even though it is hard, I am committed. I am committed to God, I am committed to do what is right. I am committed. All right. It is not always easy in the family. Right. We were talking about that in my class. And so all of a sudden, 10 years later or 20 years later, I looked at him, and (I have had people say this) you know, I don't know if I really meant my marriage vow. Well, I am sorry, that ship sailed a long time ago. Hello. And, and just because it gets a little hard or maybe your emotions are a little out of whack. I am sorry. God says, be committed to do that, which is right. And the Devil wants to come into your life and his desire is to get some stupid thought in your head. His desire is to get you to twist scripture around.
Literally, I had, I had a pastor talk to me and he was working with somebody, and he found a passage in the Old Testament which allowed him to have an affair and put his wife away. And he sat down with him and the guy was like, hey, in scripture.... The pastor was like, oh my word. But you know, you can make scriptures say all kinds of different things. Be careful because Satan has a desire. He has a desire. And this was not just, as I said, this was not just to Peter, it was, I believe, to all the disciples saying, hey, guess what, boys? Satan desires to have you. He has come to me, he has petitioned me and said, let me have those guys.
That is Satan's desire that he may sift you as wheat. Satan has a desire. If you have your Bible turn to Job, which I hope you do. Turn to Job chapter one and I think most of us remember this passage, but in Job chapter one, remember verses 9-12. All right, so here is the story of Job, but I think this helps us and helps us also as a believer to understand Satan has no good intentions with you. Never any good intentions. So look at Job here and verse chapter one in verse nine. "Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?" And then you could go even earlier to verse six. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. Then in verse seven, "And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." So what was he looking for?
According to this, he was looking for not sinners, but saints and he found Job. He knew of Job, because God says, hast thou considered my servant Job. Look at verse nine. It shows you Satan has a desire and he had a desire for Job. "...Doth Job fear, God for nought?" He knew his story. He had his dossier. He pulled it up, he is like, oh yeah, I have looked at him. I know what you are doing. "Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land." I can almost hear him, it is a little devil talk, you know, I little whiny baby. "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face." And guess what God said, go ahead and do it. Satan has a desire. You know what he wants to do, he wants to go in and take all you have and God may allow him to do it. Sorry. This kind of goes against Joel Osteen, doesn't it? When he is out there like, hey people. You know what? Just landed off my jet. It is really wonderful. Think big today! Alright, well, big hair, all right big jet, big house. Yeah. And you think of a big check you are putting down here into the tithe. All right, so this kind of goes against what they are saying. Why is it going against it? Because when all that was taken away was Job some heathen. No, God knew. God knew what was going on. This was a test. And sometimes God is going to test you, and it is not going to be all Hunky Dory. It is not going to be all sweet, it is going to be tough, but God is going to test you. But Satan's desire through that test is to crush you, to tear you to pieces. That is his desire.
J.C. Ryle said this in thinking about the passage in Luke chapter 22, he said, "The wolf does not crave the blood of the lamb more than the devil desires, the destruction of souls." That is his desire. Satan is the personification of evil. He opposes everything that is righteous. This is he who brought sin into the world at the beginning by tempting Eve. This is he who in the book of Job was wandering to and fro in the earth, walking up and down it. This is he whom our Lord called the prince of this world, a murderer and a liar. This is he who Peter compares to, a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. John speaks of him as the accuser of the brethren. And this is the one who also Christ says comes and catches away the good seed from the heart of yours. Sows tares among the wheat. Stirs up persecution, causes strifes and division. Let us ever be watchful and careful because Satan has a desire for your Christian life. Satan has a desire and notice what else he desires. In our text, it says that he may sift you as wheat. Now, I did not grow up on a farm and I did not grow up in harvest season, especially even in the Middle Eastern countries a couple thousand years ago. So every time I hear sifting of wheat, I think of that little silver thing and you put a little flour and you shake it back and forth and the flour comes out. I don't know but that does not seem that bad, like ooh, that is hurting me Satan. But if you go back to that era, the sifters were huge. And if you would watch them sifting. It was work, it was effort, and it also was painful to the chaff because it was getting tossed. And that is the idea. It is not some little had sifter. All right. Satan wants to come in and up end your life, sift you as wheat! It is not a simple flour sifter that seems to be so innocent and simple. There was large metal grates. It was a very intense process, it is the sifting that the devil desires. God, when he sifts the saint is doing it out of love and compassion. And His desire is the peaceable fruit of righteousness according to Hebrews 12. But Satan, oh no. His desire is the sifting that destroys. It is to make the saint fall and fail. God when He sifts us, He has a good purpose. So let God's purpose be done, but watch out for Satan because he has a desire.
The second thing that will, cause some people to come up with some weird ideas is in verse 32, "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." So the, the first thing is Satan's desires. The second thing is Peter's conversion. And so some people look at that like, oh he not have been saved, yes, he was. That word conversion I do not believe it is talking about salvation. That word convert means to revert, it means to come again, and it can mean to convert. But another use of it is found in Mark chapter five. So it is the same word, look at Mark chapter five. I am going to give you two of the same word used, but it is used a little differently. So in Mark chapter five, this is the story of Jesus and remember, Jarius' daughter was sick. And so He is heading to Jarius' house. And in verse 25, "a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things..." Verse 27, "When she heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment." Look at verse 30, "And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press and said, Who touched my clothes?" So that word convert is the same word, turn about. So Jesus is going this way and he is heading to Jarius' house. And he feels that the lady touched the hem of his garment and he turns about, so that is one instance that it is used.
Look at another instance, and that is found in Luke, in the story of the shepherds. Another instance of this same word being used in Luke chapter two. So the shepherds hear the story of Jesus in Luke chapter two. And notice, that they are there out in the field. They hear the angel chorus singing. And in verse 19, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." But notice verse 20, "And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen as it was told unto them." That word return is the same word as convert. So what were the shepherds doing? The shepherds were going back to their place, I guess, of residence, they returned. Okay. So that is why as far as Peter's conversion, this is what I believe Jesus was saying to Peter, I am praying for you that your faith fail not. I am praying and when you are converted, when you get right, when you repent of the sin that is going to occur. I am praying that your faith fail not and when you are converted, strengthen, thy brethren. And so Peter's conversion, I believe that this conversion was needed. Why? I think the conversion was needed or this returning or going back to God. One, I think he needed it because he needed to repent of pride. You would say, well, where is that? It is right there in the text. Notice in our texts that Luke 22, but I have prayed for thee, all right, so here is Christ saying, hey, you know what, when you are converted, when you turn back to me, I am going to pray for you that your faith fail not. Have you ever talked to somebody and they are not getting the point yet. Notice the next thing Peter steps up says, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee both into prison, and to death."
Did you just hear what he said? Simon Simon, he calls his name out. And then notice that Christ turns to him now and he says, hey, "Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." And he said unto them, and he goes into that a little more. It is just amazing to me that here Peter is being talked to by Christ. I mean, it is not just you or I. It is not just his pastor, it is Christ. And Christ is saying Peter, this is serious. Satan wants to take you. He wants to rattle your life. He wants to tear it up. I am praying for you when you convert, when you turn back to me. You know what Jesus I was thinking about this, you know if you go to prison, I am your man. Did you not just hear that. Peter at some point had to repent of his pride and that happens to us. Right? And that is kind of my next point. I am wanting to jump to it, but he needed to repent of his pride. He also need to repent of betrayal and it did happen, didn't it?
So what I am so happy for is my third point. And that's Christ intercessory prayer. Did you notice what Christ said, Christ did he know that Peter was going to deny him. He actually told him didn't he, but I prayed for thee. I am so happy for a Savior that even now sits on the right hand of the Father and He interceeds for me because Christ intercessory prayer, is personal. Did you notice that Simon? Simon? It is personal prayer, it is for you and I. And I do not understand how God keeps track of everything. I have a hard enough time keeping track of my prayer list. I am always working at reorganizing it and then it is always like, Oh man, Lord you gotta help me out. I do not know how he does it. I mean I have a hard enough time with my little world and He has got all of it. He never forgets anything and I believe He is always interceding for us. And so it is personal.
It is also present. Did you notice it says, I have prayed. It is in the past, it is in the present and it is in the future. It is all of it. He is praying right now for us and it is specific. Do you notice what it said? He did not just say, hey, you know, I am praying that you do good. You know, with the kids, we would always, when they were younger and trying to teach him about prayer and you probably have the same thing. You are just like, oh, like family devotions, like and pray for the church people, all of them. Pray for the missionaries, okay so which ones? So are you talking about ours? Or do you know some other ones from another church. All right. It is the missionaries. All right. I am thinking God is confused with that. So he was specific. What did he pray? He prayed that thy faith fail not. It was specific. The idea of faith, that it fails not--that word gives the idea of an eclipse. So what is an eclipse? It is total darkness, it is gone. And there was debate. Oh, so did Christ prayer fail? So actually do read the book of Acts. Christ's prayer was answered, wasn't it? Oh, his strength failed. But his faith did not. Peter's faith did not fail, his strength did. He tripped up a little bit. And I think that it kind of goes back to that I am so glad that I have a Savior that is praying for me. Remember I said about this idea of pride? I think some of that, we are the same way. We looked at Peter and we look at him and say what in the world? And I like even making fun of him.
But you know, you and I do the same thing. Matthew Henry said this, there is a proneness in goodmen to be overconfident of their own strength and stability. We are ready to think ourselves able to grapple with the strongest temptations to go through the hardest and most hazardous service and to bear the greatest afflictions for Christ. But it is because we do not know ourselves. Just about the time we think that we are no longer going to fail along comes a trial or temptation of some sort that exposes how very weak we are. And as the Psalmist said in Psalm 30, "And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved." But let adversity come and it is a different story. First Corinthians 10 is very true, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
And so what do we need to be careful of? We need to be careful of that pride and arrogancy that comes into our life, just like Peter. Peter was standing with Christ, he was there and Christ was saying, be careful, adversities coming and when thou art converted, I am praying for you, Peter...Simon, Simon. Hey, it was a personal, it was specific and that is what we need when we are praying for others. And that is my final challenge then. My final challenge to you is, so who did you intercede for this week? I am glad I have a Savior. I am glad I have a heavenly father that listens to Christ my Savior, who intercedes, who ever interceedeth for me.
Well, what about you? Does the Bible instruct us praying one for another--over and over. So is intercessory prayer important? Christ teaches us that intercessory prayer is very important because the devil has a desire. And he has a desire for each and every one of us. And sometimes whether we know it or not, we are like Peter and we are just walking along, and you are telling your friends, you know what is up with that guy? I would never. Be careful. What did you just say? Sounded like Peter. Seems like, I even tell guys in the ministry, well I can not remember who it was but we were sitting with in the last month. And they were like, I would never, I said, don't please, please do not say that. And they were talking about something in the ministry that I would never go here. I would never do that. I have to be very careful. I can remember talking to a young man and he was coming to a place that somebody had asked him to take a ministry and so he called me, he called me on the phone and I knew it was very busy and he was like, oh, I know it is really busy, but if you just have a few minutes and I picked up the phone. He goes, you are not going to believe it. This place asked me to consider and pray about this ministry. And I knew what he was going to say. I said, so what do you think? He is like, oh my word. He says you know what I am thinking. I said well, that does not sound good. I said, you better pray. I said, I am just telling you the outlook is not good when you go at it that way. Pretty sure I know the answer. He goes, oh, I know. He said, do I have to pray? I said, you you probably should. And so about a week later, he said, man, it's really clear. God wants me to take this ministry. So that is why you never say never, because God has a plan.
And so we need to be praying. We need to be praying for each other. Why? Because God has a plan for us. And Satan has a desire. He has a desire for your life. And you may not see Satan's way, but you know what? Maybe fellow Christians can come alongside and pray for each other. And I would be careful, you know, there are some people that think they know everything. Right? So I would just say, if you are that way, feel free to come up to us and we will tell you to be quiet. Okay? Because there is some people that walk up and say, hey, I noticed something about... I don't know, so do you have a divine revelation. Just pray for him. That is what I would say. Pray for him because all of us can not see the faults in our lives and all of us can not see the things that the devil has laid out for us. But by praying to God, intercessory prayer does work. Paul asked the Ephesian christians in Ephesians chapter six, we were there, remember in Ephesians 6, if you want to turn back there to verse 18 it says, "praying always." Verse 19 and 20 Paul continued the thought, "And for me (pray for me), that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." He was pretty specific on what he wanted them to pray. Romans 10 Paul said, "Brethern, My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved." He was praying for a whole country of people. We should be praying. Prayer does work.
There was a woman that came to R.A. Torrey one time with a little boy. And as R.A. Torrey says, she walked up with him and he was perfectly incorrigible. If you do not know what incorrigible means, it means he was a literal heathen terrorist. And so, she came up with the little terrorist and she said, what am I supposed to do with him? And R.A. Torrey looked at the mom and said, have you tried prayer? Listen to this, R.A. Torrey says she said she thought she had prayed for him. I asked if she had made his conversion and his character a matter of definite expected prayer? And she said, no, I have not done that. And he said, make that a high priority. She began that day to pray and later in life he got a note and that man grew into a fine Christian man. You know why? Intercessory prayer, intercede, pray. How many Sunday school teachers teach? How many in the nursing home, bus, or whatever ministry. How many of us go through our ministries month after month after month? And we do not intercede for people. We never come before the throne of God and beg. Because you know what? Satan has a desire. He has a desire. Prayer is important! Plead with God, plead with him for souls, plead with him for guidance, and help for them, for these souls. Plead with God and say, God, help them. But we find every other thing. Oh, what book do you have? And I like books, but what about God? Can you plead with him? Can you pray with him?
R.A. Torrey also tells this, I thought this was very interesting. If you know the story of R.A. Torrey, he was saved later in life. He basically became an agnostic. He became almost like an atheist. He went over to Germany and he was very educated man, but he just did not believe in God. And this is what he said in thinking about prayer. He said, there are very few converted in this world unless it is connected to someone's prayers. And then this is what he said. I formally thought that no human being had anything to do with my own conversion. I was not converted in church. I did not go to Sunday school. I was not in personal conversation with anyone. I was awakened in the middle of the night and converted. As far as I can remember, I had not the slightest thought of being converted or of anything of that character when I went to bed and fell asleep. But I was in awakened in the middle of the night and converted within five minutes on the side of my bed. But he said, I thought no human being, but I had forgotten my mother's prayers. And I afterwards, listen to this, I afterwards learned that one of my college classmates had chosen me as the one to pray for until I was saved.
Don't let your folks down in your ministries. There is a song we sing, I marked it there, I think it was page 245 or something like that. I love the words. I have a Savior, He's pleading in glory, dear loving Savior, though Earth's friends be few, and now he is watching in tenderness o'er me, and oh that my Savior were your Savior to. For you I am praying, for you I am praying, for you I am praying, I am praying for you. I have a Father, to me He has given a hope for eternity blessed and true. And soon He will call me to meet him in heaven, but oh that He let me bring you with me too. For you I am praying, for you I am praying, for you I am praying. I'm praying for you. The Lord is teaching us. He is teaching us to pray for others. Have you been involved in intercessory prayer this week? Praying for others? Boy, the devil wants to sift. He has a desire. May it not be that the devil gets one of us sitting here because we forgot to pray for each other. God help us.