A Prayer for Peace

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 CSB

“Girls! That. Is. Enough! We are playing the quiet game until we get home. Starting now!”

Once again my daughters were driving me crazy while I was driving them home. It seemed like every time we got into the car they got into a fight, and I was beside myself with frustration. Short of installing a privacy window in my SUV like I’ve seen in limos (in movies), I didn’t know how to create a commute that didn’t give me a headache.

And a partition in my car wouldn’t solve the problem anyway. Those girls could go from hugging and debating which sister loves the other one more to hitting and debating which sister started it in less than five seconds. As the year came to a close last year I wasn’t wishing for peace on earth, if I’m honest; I was happy to settle for peace in my home.

Squabbling siblings aren’t the only thing to steal my peace, of course. The news gets me riled up any time I dare peek at the headlines. Family members frustrate me or need me or ignore me, and friends disappoint me or forget me or ask too much from me. A busy schedule, a heavy workload, a difficult season for any reason at all – all of these things (and so many more) have kept me from feeling settled, secure, or solid in my faith. Peace – that underlying certainty that God is with us and in control, no matter what our circumstances may be – seems to be a slippery fruit that my spirit just cannot grip tightly enough.

Then again, I’m reminded when I finally make time to rest and reflect that it’s not my job to find peace or even to hold onto it. It’s simply my job to receive it.

True peace – not just quiet, like the calm before a storm (or the indication that your normally noisy kids are inevitably causing trouble) – comes only from the Lord. I can’t create it myself, and I can’t force it. God’s peace comes when we accept His amazing love and respect His mighty power, when we allow Him to direct our steps and soothe our broken hearts, when we acknowledge Him and sit with Him and turn to Him when the winds start to blow.

As I began to think about and pray about peace in my life, I noticed that the only time I knew my girls would stay quiet and keep their hands to themselves was when they watched a TV show or movie together. When their eyes and ears (and brains and hearts) are focused on something else, their so-called reasons for arguing no longer matter nearly as much and they simply forget to fight. The same is true – and a whole lot healthier – for us when we focus on Jesus.

When we keep our eyes and ears (and brains and hearts) fixed on Jesus, we’re able to rest in the peace He offers us and let all the chaos fall aside. The so-called reasons for being riled up don’t seem nearly as important when everything in us is turned toward the Lord, and our hearts can feel steady and secure, in Him, again.

As you are seeking peace this year, I pray that you remain focused on the One who can give it to you. I pray you have the strength not to try harder and hold tighter, but to persevere in following the Lord. I pray that distractions will fall away as you press into Him with everything in you and that the result is a deeper, steadier peace that endures, comforts, and guides you through the year and beyond.

No matter what you’re facing this year, I know God can and will give you the peace you want and need. Please join me in praying these words for ourselves and for others seeking peace in 2024:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for offering me the gift of peace. God, forgive me for being so easily distracted and weighed down by all the things this world keeps throwing at me. Forgive me for feeling more comfortable with fear and worry and frustration than I do with the heavenly peace you have promised.

Please show me how to fix my eyes and ears and brain and heart on you, letting everything else fall away. Keep me focused on you, Lord, and everything you’ve done for me, instead of thinking about what I need to do, what I want to do, what I think I should do.

Give me peace, Jesus. Give me peace in my heart and my home, in my work and my ministry, in my relationships with my family, my friends, my neighbors and the world. Be with me, Lord, and give me peace always in every way.

Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

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