1 John chapter five, starting in verse 13 – “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything, according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” There’s no better example in the Scriptures of these verses than Yeshua. A man who knew that what he asked of the Father – because he was asking it in accordance with the will of the Father – had confidence that the Father both heard him and that all of the requests he made the Father gave him.
And so this morning, when I was reading this verse, I came to verse 16 and a revelation hit me about the prayers of Yeshua and then our prayers for our brothers. Verse 16 goes on to say, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin, not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life to those who commit sins that do not lead to death.”
I realized that the place of confidence that the Father hears us and that whatever we ask, the Father will give us, as long as what we were asking is in accordance with His will directly precedes a verse about intercession; praying for our brothers that we see sinning. And I was reminded of an encounter between Yeshua and Peter in Luke chapter 22, starting in verse 31. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”
My whole life, I’ve interpreted this verse as Yeshua looking at Peter and saying, “Peter, Satan has come to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you in hopes that your faith will not fail.” Or “I have prayed” or “my prayer is” that your faith will not fail. But as I read it this morning and I thought about it in the context of 1 John 5, I realized Yeshua is saying, “I have prayed for you because you will commit a sin that does not lead to death. And I have confidence that your faith will not fail.”
This is evident because of the very next thing Yeshua says is “and when you have turned again and strengthen your brothers”. And I realized, wow, the confidence that Yeshua has, knowing that Satan has come to sift Peter as wheat, his prayer is not this wishy-washy hope that Peter’s faith won’t fail under trial, but it’s saying, “No, I have prayed for you in order that your faith won’t fail, in order that your faith won’t deteriorate to the point where you commit sins that lead to death, in order that you won’t depart.” And so Yeshua has confidence that his prayer is received and heard and granted by the Father.
He also prays these things in a similar way in John chapter 17 when he says, “I have kept those You have given me.” Yeshua knew that those that the Father gave him, he had the authority to keep because the Father heard him- except for the son of perdition, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. And then he says, “And I am praying also for those that you will give me and I’m asking that they would be one with you as that as I am one with you and that you would keep them in your name.”
This is very similar to what we see encountered by Job. The Father knew that He was going to keep Job. The Father knew the struggles and the trials and the difficulties and sufferings Job would endure, but the Father knew that though Job may fall, though Job may stumble, it would not lead to death. Because as the verse in 1 John 5 ends, it says because God will give him life.
And so today, as we pray for our brothers and sisters, or even ourselves, and as we see individuals we know and love committing sins or walking in errors or walking in ways that haven’t resulted in their death, let us pray, not with just a simple worldly hope that they’ll recover, that their faith won’t fail or that they’ll turn and repent, but let us pray with confidence. The Father delights in seeing His children turn to Him; the Father wills that none should perish. The Father wills that we would repent. He desires to see men everywhere repent.
And so let us pray for our brothers and sisters saying, “My prayer isn’t that I hope your faith won’t fail, but instead it is because of my prayer for you, that I know that your faith won’t fail. As a result of me praying, according to the will of God and having confidence that He hears me, as a result of that, I know that God will grant you life.”
And when you turn again, strengthen your brothers.