Pray for Peace (19-01-22)
Bible Reading: Psalm 122:6-9
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels."
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you."
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.
Peace, as we all know, has many faces. The obvious one is the absence of warfare which we are
Thankfully free from in the UK and most of Europe, though there is a certain amount of anxiety over the Ukraine, and there are places around the world at war, places like Yemen and Afghanistan. Peace for others is the absence of civil unrest, places like South Sudan and Libya.
For others peace is about the absence of strife within family relationships or friendships, within the community or even within churches. For others, peace is about a state of mind, the absence of anxiety and a sense of wellbeing.
Depending how you interpret Psalm 122, it is a psalm that can speak into all of these situations.
Taken literally it is three-thousand-year-old prayer for the peace of Jerusalem as the focal point of the Jewish faith and nation. Today it is the meeting point of three major faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, each one with major allies and enemies around the world. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem today is also therefore a prayer for peace around the world.
For King David, who wrote this psalm, it is a prayer for the peace of his nation, for security and prosperity. For us too, then, it can become a prayer for our nation, that God will give us security and prosper us, not so much that we can become rich, but that we can become a blessing to others, as was God’s plan for Israel.
King David also prayed for peace within the walls of Jerusalem. Let us also pray for peace within our communities and within our homes, that we could have mutual respect for individual points of view and look beyond our differences to the things that unite us.
God’s plan of salvation for the world involved Israel being a light to the nations and when they failed to recognise their Messiah, the baton passed to the Church. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem, the centre of the Jewish faith, can therefore be a metaphor for praying for peace in the church, peace from division and controversy, and for the church to become a fountain of grace.
But peace is not just the absence of strife. The peace that God gives, the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) is a peace that comes from the Prince of Peace, a peace that comes from within, not from outside, a peace that we can all pray for and that we can all receive
Through relationship with Jesus.
Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, bless those who work for peace in our world, help me to be a channel of your peace with all those I meet, and give me your peace in my heart today.
Make me a channel of your peace.