Would Anyone Like to Pray?

Maundy Thursday 2022 + Luke 22:31-34

It’s a scene that takes place in many churches. It’s time for a meeting or Bible Study to begin and a leader asks, “Would anyone like to pray?” What follows is oftentimes, dead silence. 

We Christians, who are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), sometimes prefer that praying be in the silence of our heart, not out loud from our lips..

As you can tell, today we are talking about prayer and I want you to notice that Jesus himself prays for Peter (vs. 32). Peter didn’t ask for prayers, Jesus didn’t ask for permission, Jesus just did it, he went for it and He stood in the gap for Peter because Peter was too busy arguing about who was the greatest (Luke 22:24-30).

Recently, I heard a country song that continued modern day Country’s music insistence of sprinkling some Christian thought in its song, yet void of Christian truth.. The lyrics went like this, “God ain’t gonna do the praying for ya.” Now, on a surface level, I get what is trying to be communicated here, however, when pitted against the words of Jesus here, these words are simply not true and promote incorrect (or more accurately heresy) within the church. Read it for yourself, “Simon…Satan demanded to have you…but I have prayed for you.” (Luke 22:21-32).

Okay, I know myself well enough to know I could chase this rabbit about the problems of country music and orthodox Christian doctrine, so I’ll leave it alone.

What I won’t leave alone is why Jesus prayed for Peter. He prayed for Peter because Satan demanded to have Peter. Jesus wouldn’t have it so he stood in the gap. But, isn’t that what Jesus is always doing for us, standing in the gap when we don’t even realize it? Isn’t that what Jesus did on the cross, stood in the gap for us when we weren’t even a thought in anyone’s mind?

In the midst of the evening that Jesus will go to jail, in the midst of Jesus knowing Peter will deny him, Jesus continues his mission of holy love by willing and praying the good of his disciples, loving them to the utmost.

This happens, mind you, as the disciples are arguing about who is the greatest among them. While they argued about who was the greatest, Jesus, who truly is the greatest, was showing why he was the greatest – because he loved, and loves, people to the uttermost, said another way, he literally loves the hell out of people.

Now this shows much about who Jesus is, but what I think it means for most of us today on Maundy Thursday 2022 is that Jesus is not out to get us, but to help us, to pray for us, to intercede for us. 

Do you know that today? Jesus is on your side, not on your sins’ side, but Jesus wills the best for you. He intercedes for you. 

Imagine, Jesus, the resurrected man at the right hand of the Father, prays that our faith would not fail. Praise be to God when I fail to pray or when I get frustrated with God and say, “ahh to hell with it” Jesus does not, he is gentle and patient and he says, “no, to heaven with you.”

As humans, we are so weak, yet I think it’s in realizing this and accepting this that we become strong in faith. Because here we dare to imagine that Jesus himself actually loves us, is pulling for us, wills our best as he nudges us and prays for our faith to be strengthened. Imagine how those words rang throughout Peter’s head the rest of his life, “I’ve prayed for you.” Perhaps that’s what unleashed his mouth for boldness in the books of Acts. Perhaps that’s what unleashes us for boldness today! 

I know I need to hear those words from Jesus, “I’ve prayed for you.” How about you?

Question for Reflection

Do you think Jesus prays for you? What difference does it make?

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