At Luke the twenty-second chapter, Jesus went at verse thirty-nine with His disciples ta the mount of Olives. He there told them they should pray that they enter not into temptation. He then went and spent His own time in prayerful communion with God, but returned to find the disciples sleeping. He awakened them and instructed them again that they should pray, lest they enter into temptation.
Though the disciples had committed themselves to stand by the Lord no matter what should happen, Jesus knew what trial was about to challenge their faith as His arrest, trial, and crucifixion drew ever so near. Therefore, His admonitions that they should pray to avoid temptation were perhaps more appropriate at this time than at many others.
We all have weaknesses, and most of us probably know what they are. Because that is true, we may also know under what circumstances or at what times we’re most likely to be tempted with regard to our weaknesses, just as Jesus knew that the disciples were about to be tried with temptation. To be sure, it would be difficult to fall into sin while praying that we not do so. Earlier in the same chapter, Jesus told Simon Peter at verse thirty-one that He knew what the devil had in store in for him, but He had prayed that Simon’s faith would not fail, adding that Simon could strengthen his brethren when he was converted.
Note first of all that Jesus was praying for another person. If there’s a spiritual obstacle that you’re praying to overcome, that same obstacle has also tempted someone else. To pray that they, too, may overcome it is to be Christlike indeed.
Note second of all that Jesus prayed for Simon’s faith not to fail. This teaches us that it is through failure of faith that we sin. To be strong in the faith is to be Satan’s sure enemy.
Note third of all that Jesus implied that Simon still needed conversion, although he was already following Jesus. Many of us begin to follow the Lord, but are found too weak to withstand the pressure of temptation. In those regards we still need conversion sufficient to make our commitment to Christ complete. To pray toward that end is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, and time well spent.