Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:31-32)
This petition is a prayer for spiritual protection. In the Bible, temptation can have two meanings. First, it can refer to a trial or testing or difficult circumstance that God allows into your life to help you grow your faith and trust him more.
Second, it can mean to solicit, lure, or tempt to do evil. This is something that God will never do.
We can be tested by God and tempted by Satan, and this can happen in the same circumstance. God wants to accomplish one thing in your life and Satan is working hard to accomplish something else.
God allows a trial and Satan will turn it into a temptation. A trial becomes a temptation when we respond wrongly.
In this petition we are asking God to us the faith to accept a trial or circumstance and use it for his glory instead of turning it into a tragedy or defeat. We are asking God to help us as we stand against Satan and his attempt to wreck our lives.
A model of this is found in the prayer Jesus prayed for Peter. Jesus did not pray for Peter to be removed from temptation, but that he would not lose his faith in it.
Jesus knew what Peter was about to do and he prayed for him. God allowed Peter to fail to purge him of his pride. He also used this failure to prepare Peter for the greater work that he had to do. Peter did so much more for Jesus after his fall then he did before his fall.
We must not take Satan lightly, and we must not forget that Jesus is praying for us. God has not brought us this far to cause us to fail. Even the dark moments of our lives are part of Gods’ plan. One day we will be delivered forever from the evil one.