Praying for peace is an ancient notion. Not only in a geo-political sense, but also in an internal, personal sense. When the angels were announcing the birth of Christ and proclaimed “Peace on Earth…”, I don’t think they meant that all wars and conflict would cease with the arrival and work of Christ (although they may be able to see to an eternal picture where that is the case). I believe they were referring to the internal peace that the Savior, Christ would provide through His sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit. By providing a means by which we are restored to a relationship with God, He was able to offer a peace that “passes our understanding”; one where our souls more so than our bodies could find rest and harmony.
It’s not a peace that we earn, but it is a peace that we have to be deliberate to live by. We can easily let the challenges and conflicts of daily life become the mantra that plays over and over in our minds. What God has called us to dwell on is not the fact that we will have hardships, and not even always looking to him to provide a “solution”, but leaning on him for duration of the journey.
We will never find peace in an answer; simply because as soon as we have an answer to one questions, our minds are wired to move on to the next. We can, by God’s grace, find peace in living the questions while submitting to God’s timing, direction and desire in our lives. I recently heard an older gentlemen state that he had been born with God’s gift of freewill, but freedom – peace – only came once he give that freewill back to God.
A Hebrew word what we translate as peace is “Shalom”. As I understand it this is not an adequate translation. A more fitting description of the concept of Shalom would be “peace that is found in wholeness”. As believers in Christ we understand that wholeness is found in our relationship with Him – something He offers so that we can start our journey, not something we receive once we have completed it.
Monday’s meditation is meant to focus my mind on the “shalom” that God desires in my life. While that may mean looking at specific issues that I need to surrender to Him, it is mostly more proactive than that; i.e. recognizing His desire to be on this journey with me, that he has knocked on the door of my life and I let Him in. It is not a request of an easy life free of conflict and hardship, but a prayer to be “content” in what ever state I find myself. (Philippians 4:10-14 – keep an eye out for an upcoming word study on “content” from this verse – in my opinion it’s a passage every co-dependent leaning sojourner needs to internalize!).
From that foundation, I pray the same for people that are on life’s journey with me, and then and only then, do I pray for the resolution of conflict in our personal lives, public lives and around the world.
May we be content, know peace and find wholeness. Shalom.