For most people I talk to, peace is elusive.

What do you do to be at peace? Do you walk on eggshells to avoid upsetting someone? Have a couple of drinks to relax? Veg out for hours in front of the television? Try to solve your problems with more money? Escape into a novel?

I’ve tried some of those things. I’ve also run away from my problems – literally by running ten miles or more! But when you’re done running you still have to come back to the things that are stressing you out!

The Path to Peace

Instead of avoiding the things that upset me, I’ve learned to talk to God about how I feel (including while jogging!). Sharing with soul friends as unto Christ helps me to know that God listens to me with compassion.

Also I guard my heart with God’s peace by submitting myself to Christ and his kingdom.

Descending and Ascending in God’s Peace with the Psalmist

A favorite prayer of mine along these lines comes from Psalm 120, the first of the Psalms of Ascent. The Israelites would sing and meditate on these Psalms during their spiritual pilgrimages in which they’d leave their homes and their businesses and walk with family and friends to the temple in Jerusalem for days of worship, prayer, and celebration.

In Psalm 120 the Psalmist is calling out to God in his distress. (Spiritual retreats often begin with emotional discomfort or inner turmoil because when we unhook from daily responsibilities to slow down and connect with God, we become aware of the stresses that we’ve been trying not to feel.)  People have lied about and criticized the Psalmist.  He is in conflict. In fact, he has been living with people who hate peace and are for war.

And so our spiritual ascent often begins with a descent into some troubling emotions!

In the midst of his distress he proclaims: “I am a man of peace” (Psalm 120:7). Meditating on this verse over time led to a sweet little prayer that’s part of My Psalms Prayer Book. I memorized it. Sometimes I carry through a day to stay in tune with God’s peace.

My Little Prayer for Peace

“Prayer for Peace” is a simple prayer with some deep wisdom. The first line invites me to worship Christ, the second to grow in his peace as I face the stresses of my day, and the third reminds me to share God’s peace with others. Worship. Grow. Serve. That’s the spiritual life.

Jesus… You are my Prince of Peace.

Jesus… Guard my heart with your peace.

Jesus… I am your (wo)man of peace.

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