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The EXACT reason Peter denied Jesus 3 times | Understanding the Lord's Prayer

Updated: Jan 4, 2023


Let's step into the shoes of the first disciples that were with Jesus Christ. They were watching Jesus walk in perfect step with the Holy Spirit, healing the sick, casting out demons, and rebuking religious leaders who were trying to end his life, and at no moment did he slip or fall. Even if we set aside the miracles for just a minute, it's hard to put to scale the volume of work he accomplished.

Looking at my own walk, I remember early in the ministry being completely drained from just 2-3 deliverance sessions. The kind of tired when you lay your head on the pillow, blink and wake up to the alarm clock for the next day! I could not phantom how draining it would be to match the volume of Christ's work. Not long ago I found myself thinking about this very thing, and realized that Jesus being God means it's impossible to literally match his output, but there is a more obtainable goal of, doing more. After some reflection and prayer, I realized it all boils down to temptation.

The desire to give up is just the temptation to quit, the fear of failure is just the temptation to lose faith, and this viewpoint works in every scenario. Changing your perspective and looking at the problems you're facing from this angle is important, but why should you start doing this? Because Jesus did!! Before Jesus was taken to be crucified, he took Peter, James, and John to pray. Jesus finds them asleep and tells Peter specifically, (Mark 14:38) "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." There is a reason Jesus picked Peter out of the three to talk to, it was because Peter knew something James and John didn't. Jesus tells Peter (Luke 22:31-32) "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." Let's break this down.


Jesus makes a few things clear to Peter: Satan requested to sift Peter like wheat and it wasn't denied. This is evident because Jesus' next statement is that he's praying Peter's faith doesn't fail. If Jesus didn't allow Satan to sift Peter, then Jesus wouldn't need to pray for Peter's faith. There are two outcomes in the trial of faith, either lose faith and fail or keep the faith and succeed. Jesus even reveals what the solution is in his prayer, (Luke 22:32) "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" This is why Jesus directly came to Peter when he was caught sleeping, it was because Peter was directly told what to pray for!


Later in scripture, we see Peter's faith fail as he denies Jesus three times in Matthew 26:69-75. Peter's temptation was fear and more specifically the fear of persecution. Peter had everything he needed, a word of wisdom from God, an opportunity to prepare, and clear instructions to avoid failure. Who knows what would have happened if he prayed not to fall into temptation? Would he have been crucified with Christ and the thieves, or maybe God would have made a way for him to escape as he boldly proclaimed Christ as God? I'm sure God will reveal it in heaven, but until then we won't know. We can, however, learn from this.

All Peter had to do was stay awake and ask God to not allow him to fall into temptation. Jesus tells us how to pray in Luke 11:2-4, and in verse 4 we read, "And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." Satan is constantly accusing you, he's constantly looking for new ways to tempt you hoping you'll fail, and what is God's response? Luke 22:32 "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" This is why we have to ask God to (Matthew 6:13) "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". What you're really doing is pleading your case in the courtroom of heaven, you're asking God to not honor Satan's requests to tempt you, but rather to free you from all forms of evil. But there is another side to this, what happens if God permits Satan to "sift you as wheat"? You pray that you don't fall into temptation! This is why Satan is called the Tempter in Matthew 4:3.


Just because it's God's will for something to happen in your life doesn't mean it will always happen! It was God's will for Peter's faith not to fail, but Peter didn't pray for God's will to be done and that is why he failed. Our walk is no different! We've been given the bible to understand God's general will and what he expects from us, and it's our job to pray for it to be done in our lives! Otherwise it won't be done, and Romans 8:13 tells us how to overcome the flesh, "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." The Holy Spirit is the only one who can put an end to the limitations and temptations of the flesh, and it's our job to ask him to do it! Hallelujah, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ grants us this access!

Let's apply this to our own walk, what temptation are you facing? How would you respond if Jesus told you he is allowing Satan to sift you like wheat? The right response is to pray you don't fall to temptations, and for God to deliver you from all evil. Sometimes I think we forget what we're really saying when we pray, I know I've caught myself doing this more recently. We often think that asking God for strength is the same as asking God to help us overcome temptation, and this is the problem. Praying for strength isn't going to stop you from falling into temptation. Strength and wisdom are the same things in God's eyes, (Proverbs 24:5) this is because wisdom is the key to accessing the Kingdom of Heaven. Solomon had all the wisdom a man could possess, yet he still fell to worshipping other gods. And Samson had all the strength a man could possess, yet he still gave into the temptations of prostitutes, pride, and vengefulness.


Temptation is a decision and it's presented to the flesh. You're presented with a choice and it's up to you to make the right decision. Asking God to deliver you from temptation is really just asking God to do the work in you so you would make the right decision. And Jesus' answer to the flesh is found in his statement, (Mark 14:38) "...The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." So don't be afraid to ask God to make your flesh as willing and ready as the spirit!

This literally takes the power of the Holy Spirit to consistently make the right choice, and the Holy Spirit is waiting for you to ask him to do this! So start looking at problems and carnal desires as temptations that test your faith, and ask the Holy Spirit to not let you fall to these temptations in Jesus' name!


Prayer Points:

  • Ask the Lord to lead you from temptations.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to make your flesh as willing as the spirit.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you not fall to the temptations of the flesh.

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