In this stressful world, peace can seem elusive. True peace comes from recognizing God’s presence with us – and experiencing wonder helps us do so. Whenever we encounter wonder, we see glimpses of God’s work in our lives. Those glimpses inspire us to connect with God, which helps us experience the peace that only he can give us. Jesus promises in John 14:27: “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.” He is our “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Peace, like wonder, changes our perspective. One morning when I was a girl, I woke up after a nightmare to find my Yorkshire Terrier dog Mittens snuggled close beside me. All the panic I’d felt just a few seconds earlier evaporated when I realized I was actually safe and with my beloved dog. As I reached out to pet Mittens, I reached out to God with a silent prayer for peace, and then peace settled on my soul like a warm quilt. No matter what happened with the real-life situation that had crept into my nightmare, I knew that God would make sure it was resolved well.
Think back to a time from your own childhood when you felt a pure sense of peace. How did that assure you that God really was with you? Let the memory of that pure feeling of peace inspire you to reach out to God now as an adult. In Wake Up to Wonder, I share a story of praying with Nana, my maternal grandmother, for peace before she passed away. What I recommended to Nana – visualizing Jesus on the cross, leaving her specific concerns at the foot of the cross, and entrusting them to Jesus to handle – is a powerful way to pray about anything that worries you and find peace afterward.
Pursuing peace on a regular basis will help you worry less and trust God more over time. Here’s how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become more peaceful, and discover wonder in the process:
Pursue peace with God. Confess and repent of any sins in your life that are blocking you from experiencing a close relationship with God. Move closer to God by turning away from your mistakes and toward him. Rest in the peace of knowing that God loves and accepts you completely.
Ask God to help you to find peace as you deal with the stress of challenging situations that make you feel angry and worried. Pray for relief from the burdens of frustration and exhaustion that you’ve been carrying from trying to find peace without God’s help. Turn your stressful circumstances over to God. Ask God to empower you to do whatever you can to solve the problems you’re facing, to accept what you can’t change, and to let go of trying to control the outcome. Pray for the strength you need to trust God, day by day, and be resilient in the midst of uncertainty and adversity.
Live with authenticity rather than pretense, so you won’t be conflicted about who you are. Ask God to show you how he sees you, so you can view yourself from an accurate perspective. Pray for the courage you need to be honest about who you really are and what you really value. Let go of efforts to impress other people and simply be yourself, with confidence.
Work toward peaceful relationships with others. Ask God to show you the specific reasons behind the conflicts you’re experiencing, so you can understand what’s at the root of the problem. Pray to better understand the difficult people in your life. Whenever someone you have a broken relationship with is willing to resolve conflict with you, pursue forgiveness and come up with mutually beneficial solutions to problems. Whenever someone you’re in conflict with is not willing to resolve the issue between you both, set boundaries of respect and move on with an attitude of peaceful goodwill. Pray regularly about conflicts between others that you learn about in the news, trusting that your prayers for conflicts around the world will have a positive impact on each situation.
How will you pursue peace today?