It is a big city and an even bigger world we live in – and I confess – we are just a small group, grown even smaller in number with the passing of the days it seems. And yet there we were, standing in the gap once again – a gap growing wider even as we grow smaller – and yet . . .
we were each in obedience, being where we were called to be on this quiet Saturday morning like any other – and yet not. Our instructions?
“I urge, then, first of all , that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
If we want peace, we are told to pray for those in authority over us. And so we came together in obedience to petition God for peace in our time, for peace in our country, for peace in our city – for God’s peace to prevail in our city streets, providing protection and paths for reconciliation and restoration of damages done.
The peace God gives is a powerful peace that passes our human understanding. We simply cannot comprehend it fully, but we do experience it. At least that’s what it says in Philippians 4:6-7,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.”
So God’s peace will protect my heart and my mind when I bring all my worries, anxieties, fears, needs and requests to Him. This is great news and a welcome comfort during this volatile time in history. The Living Bible translates it this way,
“His (God’s) peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”
Most of us are in pursuit of personal peace these days, even as civil unrest and increased crime seem to surround and overwhelm us. We desire both personal and public peace. Both seem elusive and impossibly out of reach. Yet Jesus is the Prince of Peace of whom it says in Isaiah 9:7,
“Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”
His reign is further described in these terms,
“but with righteousness He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth. . . . The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. . . . They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:4 & 6-9)
This is indeed a whole new world! No strife, no destruction, no harm to the vulnerable and the weak. Why? Knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth! His Presence brings peace and protection and prosperity to humankind. He is a God of order and unity, therefore His mere Presence dispels the chaos and division that our misguided human striving has invited into our personal and public lives.
And so we petitioned not a human judge but our Heavenly Father, for the peace we so desire in the life of our country and in our own lives as well. He is faithful. We are told in James 5:16,
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
We stood in the gap, inviting, beseeching, begging for God’s intervention into our tumultuous circumstances – desiring that His Presence which is filling the earth from every sunrise to every sunset, be made manifest in a mighty way.
Petitions for peace will continue, dear readers. The prayer of Colossians 3:15,
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”
That’s where peace starts, in individual hearts. It has to take root there before it can spread to the heart of a nation. And our nation desperately needs a new and peacefilled heart.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
sincerely, Grace Day