Isn't it amazing when we hear that someone has been praying for us? We feel strengthened and filled with hope. We can look back over the past couple days or weeks and see the graces that were at work. We look ahead with confidence and grace that we have support.
Imagine if Jesus told us that He personally prayed for us?
"Peter, I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:32)
Do we realize that Jesus says the same to us? Listen to Him say to you, "First name, I have prayed that your own faith may not fail;" Jesus knows that we are weak and that is why He prays for us! And He continues to pray for us. During this season of Lent, we recognize that Jesus went into the dessert for 40 days to pray, fast and be tempted for us.
Once Peter was fortified by the prayers of Jesus, he was given a mission, "and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers." We are called to do the same. Knowing now that Jesus prays for our faith not to fail, we must also strengthen our brothers and sisters. We must be confident in reaching out to our neighbors. This means stepping out of our comfort zone, especially in today's society, when greetings are no longer exchanged in passing, we can often think, that everyone is fine and doesn't need anything. Now more than ever, there is spiritual poverty. Jesus needs us to be His hands, feet, heart and voice in the world today. He needs us to help build up the Body of Christ.
So how did Peter strengthen his brothers? Looking at the scripture passage again, we see that Jesus had said the above to Peter right before Peter's denial was foretold. So later on when Peter realized He denied Jesus three times, he could have despaired, but because Jesus had prayed for him that his faith would not fail, Peter had faith in the mercy of Jesus.
We can see ourselves in Peter. We promise Jesus we'll never leave Him and that we give Him everything, but then we fall. We get scared. We worry about our safety, our health, our reputation and we deny Him too. We run away and we realize how weak we are.
Jesus wants us to trust in His mercy. Peter trusted in it and we can too. Jesus wants us to experience His mercy and share His mercy. For this is how we are to strengthen one another.