October 15, 2017

In Search of True Peace

Let’s face it, we live in a stress-filled world. We excel at being chronic worriers. We fill our minds with anxious thoughts of everything that might go wrong. Our souls are less than tranquil.

We have all these pressures piled on us. Getting our next paycheck, keeping the car running smoothly, preparing for bad weather, following politics, paying for healthcare, fighting illness and exhaustion…

And then there’s the holiday season, when we face an unwritten competition to do everything “just right.”  We’re supposed decorate a picture-perfect house, play the perfect hostess, find the perfect gifts for everyone, send the perfect Christmas cards, and attend everything with a perfect smile plastered on our faces!

But you don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to merely survive the stress… in fact, you can thrive amid the pressure, like the grain of sand in an oyster shell that slowly turns into a beautiful pearl after months of continued pressure. You can have true peace, even amid the chaos of life.

However, you must do something to find that peace. You can’t just expect it to happen, like a little boy asking his mother for lunch money. God has prescribed specific steps for us to take:

True peace requires persistent prayer. 

Most of us probably spend a few minutes each day, praying something like this: “Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Help me to have the energy to do what needs to be done. Help my kids to obey, and help us all to glorify You in everything we say and do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

But a mere few minutes a day won’t help you find lasting peace.

Centering your mind on Christ for a few minutes each morning is good, and necessary, but it takes prolonged prayer throughout the day to keep you dwelling there consistently. Consider what Psalm 91:1 says:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Abiding in God requires prolonged dwelling in His presence. It requires persistent practice at drawing near to Him, over and over and over again. It requires running to Him, and openly communing with Him, repeatedly throughout the day — it requires praying without ceasing.

But there’s another step we must take in order to find genuine peace…

True peace requires thankful prayer.

Our persistent prayer must be more than simply naming requests throughout the day. It requires a particular element, which is named in Philippians 4:6.

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.

How easy is it to simply make our requests known when we realize we need something, and then go on our way? But if that’s all we do, even if we do it persistently, then we’re missing something. We are to make our requests known to God with thanksgiving!

Do you like the child who always asks you for something, but never stops to appreciate you as a person? Do you like the neighbor who always needs to borrow something, but never says “thank you” or appears grateful for your generosity?

But we do the same thing to God! God tells us to give thanks in everything… even in pain and chaos, even when our gratitude requires sacrifice. And His command is not merely for own glory — He commands thankfulness because it will benefit us!

Persistent, thankful prayer lets you
trade chaos for tranquility and find lasting peace. {tweet that!}

A thankful, prayerful heart will see more than just the overwhelming problems of this chaotic world. A thankful, prayerful heart will glimpse God’s goodness amidst the pain, His sovereignty amidst the chaos, His holiness amidst the ugliness.

Persistent, thankful prayer teaches us to view life from an eternal perspective, knowing that today’s trials are only temporary. It settles our hearts on who God is, and focuses our minds on things that are true and lovely and commendable — rather than on the bigness of our problems, or the horrible things that might go wrong.

It helps you surrender your stress, and gain peace that transcends anything your human mind can mimic through logic or reason or intellect. It transcends anything your heart tries to produce through emotion or withdrawal.

It helps you reject the world’s frantic search for security, and find instead a peace that guards your heart, that provides security and protection the way a soldier guards his cherished homeland. It keeps you safely abiding in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 90:1

 

Let’s Discuss! What are some practical steps we can take this Christmas season, to focus on the Giver of Peace instead of the chaos of this world? 

 

Comments

  1. I am convinced that prayer is the key also. Makes a big difference to start my day, and continue my day at the throne of Grace.

    • Yes, starting the day with a few minutes of prayer makes a huge difference in my attitude. The problem, for me, is remembering to stop throughout the day to continue that prayer time!

  2. the white wave says:

    I find it so helpful-for my own heart and for others’ hearts-to focus on the needs of others and pray that they would be preserved and kept in the peace of God.

  3. How great to read this since peace has been on my mind lately 🙂 And this is truly convicting…I know that my prayer life needs to be more consistent. I can easily get stuck in the productivity trap and feel that if I don’t quickly see results from an endeavor then I must move on to the next thing. But time in God’s word and through prayer is never wasted time. Thanks for writing this!

  4. I do agree that peace can be found amidst the chaos of life. Prayer is the way and that helps us to keep our focus on God. Thank you for your post and for the reminder of persistent, thankful prayer to move past the chaos into peace.