“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Good afternoon, Beloved,
I pray that each of you are well and guarded by God’s eternal peace. I was considering this amazing gift recently and roughly remembered what a professor once said. He explained that the absence of war is in itself not peace, and peace can exist while we are at war. In fact, he was explaining that these two states of being / society are not really in opposition. They can both, philosophically speaking, exist in the human psyche at the same time.
Personally, I love this idea. This concept that even though we are dealing with great conflicts or even full out war, we can be at peace in our souls: faithfully trusting in God and whatever God has planned for us in the future. I love the idea; however, real world living has revealed that this state of being is not always that easy to achieve, especially for us broken humans. We have anxiety, worry, OCD or just simple conflicts which turn our world upside down. And in these moments, it is hard to find God’s peace. The very idea, like the apostle’s words above, seem to be just empty aphorisms or phrases when we are struggling in conflict or war.
So, what do we do? How do we go from this real-world conflict to the peace of God? Well beloved, I believe the answer is right there in Paul’s words. Right there when he says,” prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” Now, I do believe any prayer in the midst of your conflict will help. Yet, there is one practice which I find helps me. It is a cross between a breathing prayer and the Lectio Divina. If you do not know what these are, please ask and I can show you them as well.
For today though, let us focus on a prayer for your peace. Start by just choosing a piece of scripture (randomly or a particular passage). Then separate the passage into phrases and read them aloud. Finally, in between each phase breathe slowly in and out three times. It looks something like this:
“Do not be anxious” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “about anything,” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “but in everything” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “by prayer and supplication” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “with thanksgiving” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “let your requests be made known” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “to God.” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “And the peace of God,” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “which surpasses all understanding,” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “will guard your hearts” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “and your minds” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “in Christ Jesus.”
This beloved is what we do. We set aside five minutes – that’s all – and pray to refocus – recenter – return to the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. It is a basic gift which God gave us when they created all of humankind and it works. It allows us to find that peace and confront the worries of the day with all the peace Christ has to offer through the Holy Spirit.
I offer this truth as a gift to you amongst our busy season – amongst the conflicts – amongst the wars. For, peace is not just a nice idea or philosophy, it is a gift. An attainable goal we can all achieve if we give “everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” to God.
I pray you will take this opportunity to find God’s Peace Now and always
Peace be with you all
Your pastor and teacher Brian
Thank you for this letter helping to putting things in proper perspective! This is one of Paul’s instructions that I have held on to in times of sorrow and joy! I remember after being in the hospital about 15 years ago, that when I returned to worship I thanked the congregation for their prayers and shared Philippians 4:6-7. Your illusion is right on point. It is not always easy to apply this promise, but what a comfort when we do with God’s help.