Friday, November 07, 2014

Peace Is a Gift We Receive in Praying (PrayerLife)

On the way to leading a retreat in Eldoret, Kenya

Henri Nouwen, in his beautiful book The Road to Peace, writes:

"In his farewell discourse Jesus said to his apostles, "Peace I leave to you, my peace I give to you; a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you" (John 14:27). When we want to make peace we first of all have to move away from the dwelling places of those who hate peace and enter into the house of him who offers us his peace. This entering into a new dwelling place is what prayer is all about." (9)

A peacemaker dwells, not in the house of fear and war, but in the house of peace. In Christ, there is peace. As I abide in Christ he gives me his peace, a peace that is different from this world's peace. I connect with him who is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14) How?

By praying. Arguably, praying is the main way of connecting myself to God. Have an actual praying life and receive the peace of God, as Jesus promised.

"A peacemaker," writes Nouwen, "prays." Peace is a gift we receive in prayer. He continues: "Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal for all peacemaking. I say this without apology, because it allows me to go straight to the heart of the matter, which is that peace is a divine gift, a gift we receive in prayer." (9, emphasis mine)

This is not mere theory. These words have great existential and experiential content. To not have a life of much abiding praying is to live in the house of fear, where war breeds resentment and competition. The more I pray, the more I find myself free from anxiety and warring inclinations. I experience peace with God, peace within, and move towards others as a peacemaker.