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 art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
What a heart that Jesus had for His disciples. Sometimes it seems they hardly understood His care and concern for them and how He was trying to impact their lives. And indeed He chose 12 men that held a special place in His heart and sought to bring them to a place of understanding for the work He would have them do after He was gone. And Jesus prays for Peter, knowing what he is facing and what he will face. In looking at Peter in this moment, Jesus sees Peter cutting off the ear of the servant, sitting by the fire and denying his Lord. He sees Him running to the tomb and peering inside at the emptiness and yet walking away in unbelief. He sees Him back on the sea trying to catch fish again instead of men.
But then Jesus also sees Peter preaching to thousands, going faithfully to the temple, performing miracles. He sees him giving himself to studying the Word of God and sharing the good news of Christ with Gentiles, being bold in his faith and a strong part of the foundation of the church and its ministry in the very beginning. He sees the wisdom Peter will gain and the testimony he will leave and the trials he will overcome. Jesus looks at Peter right then and sees all that he will ever become.
In the same way, Jesus sees us where we are right now, stumbling around, struggling, perhaps giving in to Satan’s temptations. But then He also sees ahead to those moments in our future where we stand strong, where we take a great step of faith, where we accomplish what He has called us to do. He sees the whole of our lives in one glimpse, and so He prays for us because He knows exactly what we will face and what we will need in days to come. He knows our weaknesses and where Satan can gain entry, and He seeks with His prayers to build up barriers around us to protect us in those moments.
The love of Christ burns brightly for each of us. His concern for us is real. He desires to see us grow and serve Him and succeed. He wants us to have victory and experience things that only a life spent following Him can produce. We can only see who we are right now, but He can see all that we will become. May we covet the prayers of our Savior. May we look to Him for strength and sustenance, and may we rely solely on Him. And may our understanding of how He sees us change the way we see ourselves.