- Move Closer to Jesus
- Prepare for Worry
- Be a Peacemaker
Move Closer to Jesus
Use this picture of Rembrandt’s, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, as part of your prayer time to cultivate peace in the chaos of life.
- What storm is rocking your boat?
- Where do you find yourself in the picture?
- What would it feel like to be close to Jesus in the boat?
- What keeps you where you are?
Prepare for Worry
In his letter to the Philippians Paul writes,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 6-7
Worry is ancient. Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not worry about your life…” because he knows they will worry. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of things to worry about. Important things. Work, school, children, health, inflation … But most of us have learned along the way that worry doesn’t change anything. It will, however, grab hold of us and consume our thinking. It will exhaust us… and rob us of God’s peace.
Paul tells the Philippians – who apparently also struggled with worrying – Worry about nothing. Pray about everything. Don’t get caught up in the ‘what if’s?’ Instead, focus your attention on God – the one who actually has the power to make a difference in your situation. Paul doesn’t say this will make everything automatically get better. That’s not the promise. The promise is peace. God’s peace.
The spiritual practice is simple, but not easy.
Every time worry begins, pray. Pray, before the slippery downward mental and emotional slope of worry begins. Be prepared with a one sentence prayer that you can immediately pray when worry starts. It may be, “God I trust (name person/situation) to your care because I know you love them even more than I do.”
It may be 1 Peter 5:9 that you memorize and have ready to pray – “God, I cast all my anxieties on you because you care for me.” – 1 Peter 5:9
Repeat this prayer as many times as it takes.
Or you may choose to pray with a breath prayer, where you repeat a word or phrase with your breathing, such as “Peace… Be still.” Inhale and exhale that prayer for as long as it takes until your mind and your spirit are settled.
We cannot prevent worry from entering our minds, but we can choose whether we allow it to dwell there. Worry about nothing. Pray about everything.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9
Be a Peacemaker
Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. Not simply peacekeepers who do whatever it takes to avoid conflict, but peacemakers – those who intentionally seek to bring about God’s peace; God’s shalom – a wholeness, a wellbeing, a peace that passes understanding found in God alone. To actively make peace, bring peace, be God’s peace in a chaotic world.
Prayer through this prayer attributed to St. Francis. Ask God to show you how to be an instrument of God’s peace in a situation right now.
The Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
By Rev. Jayne Davis