Lent Devotional March 18: A Prayer for Peace
A Prayer for Peace
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
During this particular Lenten season, I find myself inundated with messages of discord and unrest, whether it is violence in the Middle East and Africa, unrest in cities within our own country, and even disorder in the halls of our own national lawmakers. Our nightly news is filled primarily with stories of troubles at home and abroad. It may seem like things could not get much worse.
At times like this, it is important to reflect upon the possibility of and to pray for peace. It may often seem as though there is nothing we can do as individuals that will make a difference on a global or even regional basis. We do not usually see direct results of our prayers and actions when they are directed towards grand ambitions such as peace. This does not mean that they are without force or effect, even if the only noticeable impact is in softening of our own views on a particular issue or in causing us to reflect upon the base causes of a particular conflict.
Where conflict cannot be resolved it can often at least be tempered through our thoughts and actions, especially when they are directed towards peaceful resolution. President Ronald Reagan once observed, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” And where it appears we have reached an impasse, it is important to try and harbor a sense of respect and decency towards those who lie, may lie in opposition to our desires. As John Wesley, theologian and founder of the Methodist movement, stated: “If we cannot think alike, at least we may love alike and can anything but love beget love?”
Prayer: Lord, in times of turbulence, help us to remember to turn to you for guidance. I ask that you lend us the wisdom to appreciate the nature of conflict and, where possible, the judgment and means to work towards its resolution.