Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Prayer is receiving the gift of peace from the One who is the Prince of Peace. Jesus offered his disciples the gift of peace just hours before he was arrested and crucified. His followers were about to experience the darkest days of their lives. All hope was about to be crushed. All they had given their lives to was about to be lost. Their own lives would feel threatened. And the man they had come to love and trust would be taken from them.
Jesus was aware of this dark night they were all about to enter. Jesus knew their hearts were about to be deeply troubled and that they were all about to be terrified. The gift of peace that Jesus offered them did not spare his followers from experiencing the coming distress. But his words planted a seed.
Jesus speaks into our lives in this same way. When life as we know it is in some way threatened, when we are full of anxiety and despair, Jesus speaks his peace into our hearts and minds.
People sometimes talk about experiences of being surprised by this gift of peace in times of crisis. Times when life as they knew it was threatened. Times when they had no idea what was ahead. In the middle of deeply troubled times, anxious and afraid, peace can come as a pure gift. We don’t expect to experience peace in times like that. But the moments of peace during these times can be some of the sweetest peace we have ever known.
The gift of peace is not under our control. It may not be constant. But it comes, a surprising gift, again and again. It is a gift that carries us on gentle wings. It is a gift that touches the deepest parts of our spirit.
Peace is a gift that we are offered every day. Even when we are in a crisis. Even when we are facing loss and death. And even in the ordinary moments of ordinary days. Jesus stands before us and speaks his peace to us “My peace I give to you.”
Allowing ourselves to hear those words and to open our hearts and minds to receive this extraordinary gift of peace is a form of prayer.
Prince of Peace,
You stand before me
It is beyond understanding.
How can your peace calm my fears?
How can your tranquility replace my anxiety?
Grant me the grace to hear your offer.
Let it sink deep within me,
down to the places where my fears have their roots.
That is where I need your peace to grow.
Grant me the grace
to receive your peace.
Sit quietly, breathing deeply and easily. Read this text aloud slowly. Receive them as Jesus’ words to you personally. “My peace I give to you.” Sit in silence with these words for a few minutes and read them again. Breathe in this gift of peace. Receive this gift of peace today.