Was Jesus' prayer efficacious?


#1

I have been engaged in a Protestant/Catholic discussion with a good friend for two years now. He is a Calvinist. One of his questions I don’t know the answer to has to do with Luke 22:32.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

The question is, did Peter’s faith fail? If it did, does this mean Jesus’ prayer was ineffective? If Peter’s faith did not fail, what are we to make of his repeated denial of Christ?

My Calvinist friend believes in Once-Saved-Always-Saved, and so the fact that Peter denied Our Lord had no bearing on his salvation. I always understood Peter’s denial to be gravely sinful, and that repenting of his sin was necessary for him to return to a state of grace. But if this is true, does it mean Christ’s prayer was ineffective?

Thanks.


#2

Peter’s faith did not fail him, his lack of faith failed him.

The moral of the story is not OSAS, but that when we sin we turn back to God with remorse and repentance.

Peter’s error was a lack of faith when tested by the devil. The Lord prayed for his faith to recover him after his fall. If he did not turn back to the Lord, then he would have been lost. The fact that we have remorse, repent and seek His forgiveness is hardly OSAS. His Holy Spirit is always striving to bring us to repentance, but it is not a guarantee that we will follow. There is a mystery involved in the amount of grace given to some, and not to others. But with much given, much is required.

There is general faith that Jesus offers to Peter, which is meant for all Christians, but there is also Peter’s personal commission Jesus addresses regarding his faith. This has to do with his position among the 12.

Jesus speaks to Peter when the others are present! This is significant. He is telling Peter alone to “strengthen” “feed” “tend” the others. We obviously dont think that this comes from Peter himself, but from God and through Peter as the office holder of the Keys of the Kingdom.


#3

Thanks rcwitness, but I don’t think you’ve answered my question.

“Peter’s error was a lack of faith when tested by the devil.”

So does this mean Christ’s prayer that Peter’s faith would not fail was ineffective?


#4

Peter had to affirm his love (confess) three times to Jesus to undo the three times he denied Him.

Peter and Judas both greatly sinned on Good Friday. One of them repented of his sin, and the other did not.


#5

Thanks zz912, but I don’t think you’ve answered my question.

“Peter had to affirm his love (confess) three times to Jesus to undo the three times he denied Him.”

So does this mean Christ’s prayer that Peter’s faith would not fail was ineffective?


#6

Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would convict him of his fault and lead him to turning again to God. This was effective.


#7

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” -Lk 22:32

???


#8

it is also a charism to guide the Church infallibly.


#9

You’re viewing it as the faith failing when Peter sinned. I would view it as Peter’s faith did not fail him, and it led him back to Jesus to repent. Don’t forget, we can have faith, but if our faith is without works, or worse, has bad works (like denying Christ 3 times), we can still be damned.

Even the most faithful among us can sin, even mortally. Many will declare Jesus as Lord, and will still be damned.


#10

“I would view it as Peter’s faith did not fail him, and it led him back to Jesus to repent.”

Thanks, zz19. That is an interesting point. So what is the advantage of retaining faith in the midst of sinning mortally?


#11

Judas gave himself over to Satan; and then, when he started to regret selling Jesus out, he killed himself.

This is not the proper way to repent! It’s just piling self-murder on top of what you’ve already done.

Peter, OTOH, didn’t lose faith. He panicked, he lied, he denied Christ three times, and he ran off and wept bitterly. He got “sifted like wheat”, all right, and he didn’t like what he saw in himself.

But Peter didn’t kill himself, or become a pagan, or become a Sadducee or Pharisee or what have you. He repented the right way; he turned around and tried to fix things. He came back and strengthened the brethren. (Although he did slope off to go fishing at one point after that.)

There’s actually some talk in the Bible about how it’s easier, for a person who usually obeys, to come back to God after sinning, whereas somebody who usually sins just keeps digging the hole deeper. It’s probably true with faith also, that someone with faith finds it easier to repent and start doing good than someone without faith. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but it’s a lot easier.


#12

Yes.

Peter didn’t lose his faith he just got scared that he would be crucified too at that time.


#13

Don’t overlook the “and when you have turned back” part. Jesus knew that Peter was going to have a lapse, but still commissioned him to strengthen the others in the wake of Jesus’ execution.

Usagi


#14

If I was talking to your friend I would respond that I don’t see the belief of “Once-Saved-Always-Saved” as corollary to salvation itself. What I mean by that is that Peter’s earlier confession (revealed by the Father) that Christ is the Son of the Living God is what sealed his place in the Kingdom of Heaven, and with special authority at that. The screw ups and denial of knowing Christ (he was afraid but in his heart he believed right, ie. Mat 16:18) have no bearing on his salvation or damnation, but only of Peter’s flawed human nature.

Does our Triune God ‘predestine’ some men to salvation? Clearly! this is even taught by Church. But it does not at all imply predestination to damnation or a doctrine of once saved always saved.


#15

Quick repentance of the mortal sin.


#16

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

You see in the quote above that Jesus’ prayer is effective, and that he also prophecies that “when you have turned back” IOW, you have returned to the fold, you must also strengthen your brothers, since ALL of them would be scattered and in doubt.


#17

What is faith?

I think we confuse having faith in Christ with realized perfection.
Human beings fail all the time. We are called to be faithful in the midst of our fallen humanity.

Jesus prays for Peter to remain faithful. Although it was not specifically expressed in that passage I’m sure Christ also hopes for Peter’s realized perfection, in Him.


#18

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