"Peace—to every heart"
Today, a deep yearning for peace touches human hearts everywhere. Thousands of years ago, the writers of the Bible also felt this need in their own time and included many inspiring references to God bringing peace to people’s lives. In the book of Psalms, for example, we read, “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace” (29:11). And later, in the New Testament, we find this salutation near the end of the Epistle to the Ephesians, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (6:23).
Throughout the Old Testament, the Hebrew word used for peace is predominantly šālôm, commonly rendered shalom in English. This peace not only refers to the absence of conflict between individuals or nations but also points to an inner quietness for each of us, a spiritual tranquility that includes a genuine sense of completeness or wholeness.
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The healing works of Jesus could be considered ultimate acts of shalom—of bringing a new recognition of an individual’s completeness and a spiritual tranquility to those he healed. Think, for instance, of a man with leprosy who had been an outcast in his own community because of the widespread fear of his illness. Or of the woman who had been experiencing severe bleeding for 12 years and found no relief no matter how hard she had tried or how much money she had spent searching for a cure. When they were healed by the spiritual power of the Christ—the divine idea of God bringing light and grace to human consciousness—these individuals certainly must have felt not only gratitude and joy and a stronger faith in God but a deep quietness of the heart.
We can acknowledge that this peace is a spiritual law that cannot be undermined, obstructed, or made of no effect.
And today, if we are confronting disturbed or fractured lives, or even societies, recognizing in our prayers that God has provided genuine spiritual wholeness for all of His children is a powerful force for healing and good. Each of us is, in truth, the spiritual reflection of God, divine Love. And just as this infinite Love is itself perfectly complete, God’s image and likeness—you and I—must also be complete. God’s reflection does not lack spiritual quietness or stability. To realize and affirm in our prayers that God’s man is the forever complete and whole expression of God helps establish in our lives here and now that true peace, shalom, is God’s will for each of us and for all of us.
We can even acknowledge that this peace is the law of God, a spiritual law that cannot be undermined, obstructed, or made of no effect. It can’t ever be displaced by people, events, or circumstances. The law of God truly expresses His divine will for us. God’s law of perfect peace is therefore fundamental to our present experience and to all reality. No matter what the situation around us may be or how disrupted or destroyed things may appear, we can avail ourselves of the perfect peace and guidance of God (who has nothing to do with evil) and be tenderly led to each next step that tangibly establishes this peace in our hearts and lives.
There’s another passage in the New Testament that is both inspiring and practical in helping to pray about peace. In The Living Bible translation we read: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest” (Philippians 4:6, 7).
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, also provides guidance on peace in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, “Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love” (p. 264).
Our own inner peace, our genuine shalom, is intrinsically linked to what love really is and does—to God as infinite Love blessing each of us, to our own expression of God’s love from day to day and moment to moment, to “an all-absorbing spiritual love.” And when we think of the peace that society itself so needs today—this pure, divine peace of God—we are encouraged to know that our prayers not only help to keep our own thoughts and hearts quiet and at rest but can increasingly bring to light for our world “all the glories of earth and heaven and man” (Science and Health, p. 264).
William E. Moody, Guest Editorial Writer
The Living Bible, copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, IL. All rights reserved.