Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
December 17, 2001
The prayer-faith-peace connection
How to find a sense of peace that will last through all seasons
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
This Christmas presents all of us with a real challenge.
Now, I'm not referring to the mysterious shortage of time that befalls every one of us each December, as we try, in vain, to find enough hours in the day to get all our holiday preparations completed before the 25th.
Nor am I talking about the relentless hunt for the "toy of the season" - you know the one - that ultra-hot, can't keep 'em on the shelves, plaything that your adorable six-year-old relative absolutely, positively must open on Christmas Day.
No, this search is far more unique in that although we feel the need most strongly this year, I suspect we have been looking for it all along.
That is, the discovery of true peace within ourselves and our lives, especially during this time that is less than peaceful.
Is it possible to feel content and serene this Christmas? Can we really celebrate the holidays this year - sing "Fa La La La La" and as Scrooge's employee Bob Kratchett would say "make rather merry," when we know that there is newly unleashed evil, volatility and hatred in the world, evident to us all in the tragic events of Sept. 11?
For many of us, this is a first taste of war and the overwhelming feelings of fear, hopelessness and vulnerability that ensue. The lives of many are not the only casualties in all this, for even our faith has been shaken and an attitude of "what's the point?" has begun to seep into our lives.
With this sort of private and public depression, how can a sense of "peace on earth and good will towards men" prevail during this holiday season or, for that matter, ever again?
During times like this, it is important to remember and focus on the things in this life that we can control, for we can neither change the dreadful deeds of yesterday nor prevent those that are in motion for tomorrow.
But we can transform ourselves, our lives and even the lives of those around us by consciously adopting an attitude of harmony and if there is anything even remotely positive stemming from the horrific occurrences in the United States, perhaps it is this: a call to us all to wake up and start living a more peaceful existence. Indeed, in the aftermath of such hostility and as we face the beginning of a new year, there is no better time.
Throughout the pages of The Bible are innumerable references to the inter-reliant relationship among prayer, faith and peace, collectively serving as the definitive "how-to" guide to handling spiritual deflation. For example, an entire chapter is devoted to the power of faith, commencing with a definition of the much sought after virtue:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). In Philippians, we find the stirring conviction: "I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me" (4:13).
Another reference can be found in Deuteronomy which says: "Do not lose heart, or be afraid or panic. . . . For it is the Lord your God who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you victory" (20:3-4).
Great. But how does one believe when your faith has been so blatantly challenged? Again we can find the answer in the Good Book:
"Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive" (Matthew 21:22) And making the irrefutable stronger correlation between prayer, faith and peace is the clear directive, courtesy of St. Paul:
"Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
For those of us struggling, in any way, with any one of a number of questions, unmistakably, the road to a life of spiritual clarity and synchronicity is a three stepper.
Prayer, which oftentimes goes by the wayside in today's busy world and (most ironically, during the Christmas season) leads to renewal and confirmation of faith which in turn firmly cements the existence of peace within ourselves, our lives and those around us.
And unlike the Christmas snowfall that comes on strong at first, stays around for a few weeks and then melts away, this is a sense of peace that will last through all seasons.
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