Friday, November 11, 2011


This past Wednesday I had one of those days when a whole lot of stressors seemed to pile up all at once. It got so bad that I sat down that evening and started listing them in my prayer journal, trying to hand them over to the Lord. A couple of looming deadlines, a certain difficult situation in school, a sick friend and so forth…

This strategy of writing them out in my prayer journal usually works fine. But not this time. The next morning as I sat in church at 5:15 in front of the blessed sacrament I was still feeling the stressors, still feeling all tight inside. I was stuck there stewing in front of the Lord. Finally out of frustration I said, “Okay, this is getting nowhere. Let me just do my lectio and see if the Lord can use that to tell me something I need to hear."
I’m currently reading my way through the gospel of Luke and am almost finished. So I opened to the verse where I’d left off the last time, Luke 22:32, and began to read. Jesus was speaking to Peter after the Last Supper shortly before they left for the garden of Gethsemane.

I began reading Jesus’ words: "Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail”

And that’s as far as I got. I was captivated by the idea of Jesus’ praying for Peter. What a tremendous idea! Can you imagine the power of that prayer? Jesus requesting something from his Father!

Suddenly I heard Jesus speaking to me: “Albert, I’ve been praying for you, too, that your faith may not fail.” I spent the rest of the meditation time letting the warmth of that consoling thought melt away all of my stress. It worked, too!


This evening I spent a few minutes with my Greek New Testament and my Greek Lexicon, checking out a couple of words from that beautiful passage.

The Verb translated as “prayed” is deomai, “to pray” in the sense of prayer of petition. A fairly common word in Luke, it means to beseech, to request. In 5:12 a leper “bowed with his face to the ground and begged (deomai) him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean;’” In 8:38 “The man from whom the demons had gone begged (deomai) that he might be with him; in 9:38 “a man from the crowd shouted, ‘Teacher, I beg (deomai) you to look at my son; he is my only child.’” But in our passage from the last supper Jesus is not being beseeched, he’s doing the beseeching. And he’s praying for ME!

The pronoun “you” in the passage is in the singular: Jesus is telling Simon Peter that he’s praying not for the apostles as a group but for him, Simon, as an individual. It’s quite personal and intimate. This means that Jesus is praying for ME, as if I were the only person in the world!

When Jesus prays “that your faith may not fail” Luke uses ekleipo, to “run out, fail.” (Money can “run out” or “fail” as in 16:9.) Jesus is praying that Peter’s faith won’t fail under the pressure of Jesus’ impending arrest, trial and execution. He’s praying for me too, that my faith won’t fail under the stresses of everyday living – especially this week.

Thursday morning I was in no mood, really, to open my bible; I was feeling too stressed out. I’m so glad that I accepted the Lord’s invitation anyway, and opened to Luke 22:32. Otherwise I’d have never heard Jesus’ consoling words, “Albert, I prayed for you.

....................Mosaic of Christ, Hagia Sophia

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