PRAYING FOR FAITH THROUGH THE SIFTING

April 24, 2018

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

(Luke 22:31-32)

It had been revealed to Jesus that one of His primary disciples, Peter, was going to go through an unusual time of testing. Jesus said that Satan had ""obtained permission by asking"" to sift him like wheat. This is reminiscent of Job, as Satan gained a similar permission to test Job. Job went through a similar sifting for a similar purpose.

Sifting wheat was a familiar process to anyone in Peter's culture. Its design was to remove the chaff—the useless, non-grain that had been gathered in harvest—and to purify the wheat and get to the usable wheat. It was vital, but hard work.

WHAT COULD JESUS DO?

Jesus did not say that he would save him from this testing. But what He DID say was that he was praying for him. And, he also indicated that His prayer would be effective.

We think Peter's faith failed, but this would not be Christ's evaluation. It faltered a bit as he denied Christ at a crushing moment when all Peter had hoped and dreamed for—banked his life on—was nailed to a cross.

But, remember that, with John, Peter was the first disciple to the empty tomb! Not many days later, he stands on the day of Pentecost and preaches and, in a single moment, 3,000 people are saved!

His faith had been sifted, as God removed the fluffy, lightweight chaff. But when it returned, he was a lion. Read 1 and 2 Peter and you will find a sobered, matured faith … a faith that was aware and ever vigilant against the enemy, but a faith that would stand the test. History tells us that Peter was martyred for his faith. Refusing to be crucified as his Lord, he asked to be crucified upside down.

OUR TASK IN PRAYER

What was Jesus' main responsibility for Peter in this grueling time of testing? To pray, and to pray that Peter's faith would not fail. And, it worked!

What is our responsibility when those we love go through the same? We must do the same as Jesus. We must carry them through to a matured faith through the process of effectual prayer!

Who around you is being sifted right now? They could come out on the other side with a damaged faith instead of a developed faith. Their well-being and usefulness for the kingdom may well depend upon your prayers.





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