There is a woman named Betty who prays for peace every Sunday. She has been doing this for as long as I have known her, and certainly since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. She stands up every Sunday and raises up her prayer concerns for the week. She adds without fail, “And, as always, for peace.”
I do not know Betty’s political persuasions. I do not know if she believes in just war or if she believes that no war is ever just. I do know that Betty is faithful and that she believes week after week that she is responsible for praying peace into the world. She is absolutely convinced that she is responsible for praying for the “peace of Jerusalem” and for all those she knows and loves.
Betty reminds me that I cannot be apathetic to the violence and hatred happening around me. I am responsible for it. You are responsible for it. We are accountable to pray peace into this world for the sake of God’s coming kingdom. No matter our political persuasions, our nationalities, our theology, our call at all times is to pray for peace. Praying for peace will indeed signify that we are living in the spiritual Jerusalem. It will be a sign that we stand at the gates of God’s holy city and that we seek God’s kingdom first. When we claim peace in Jesus’ name, it will come.
Prince of Peace, guide and guard my heart as I pray and work for your kingdom. Amen.
Advent is a season for turning our minds to the coming arrival of the Christ child. Isaiah looks forward to a future day when peace will reign in Jerusalem. All nations will come to hear the wisdom of the Lord. The psalmist rejoices in going up to Jerusalem in his own day. Jerusalem is a center of peace and a place for righteous judgment among the nations. Both readings inform Jewish expectations of a bright future with the arrival of the Messiah. Paul tells the Romans that part of receiving the reality of the Messiah is self-preparation. We should put aside immoral living and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew looks forward to the future return of the Son of God, which will happen at an unexpected time.
Read Isaiah 2:1-5. How do you look to the Bible’s stories, prayer, and the Holy Spirit to help you work toward God’s kingdom?
Read Psalm 122. What does it mean for you to pray for peace?
Read Romans 13:11-14. How do you stay awake to salvation’s nearness?
Read Matthew 24:36-44. Who in your life lives as though they expect the Son of Man? What does it look like to be ready to meet Christ?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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