A Prayer to the God of Shalom
O God of Shalom, will there ever be an end to the senseless and futile violence of our species upon itself? Do we not get tired of praying for peace that never seems to happen? Do we not fear the unexpectedness of the recent violent attacks in our world? Are we praying now because we are anxious and sense the meaninglessness in life? We are not sure of how to combat these deadly intents against the better angels of our nature.
Have our prayers become symptomatic of our fears and distrust of the world in which we live? Let’s face it. Our prayers won’t stop the killing; our prayers won’t bring back the dead; and they won’t stop our grief and they won’t stop the terrorist in our world from doing the evil that they think is good. So what are we to do, O God of Shalom; how do we continue to be your people of shalom in the midst of all the violence and killing?
We will continue to pray to you even when our hearts are disillusioned with this violent world; we will continue to pray even in the midst of indefensible killings; we will continue to pray even when we feel so helpless to do something; we will continue to pray for peace to be restored to those who sense they have no peace, no voice, no hope, no justice, no love in their hearts; we will continue to pray . . .
We will continue to live our lives guided by your Son’s spirit within us. It is his spirit that keeps us going when we want to separate from our world and our humanity when it acts in violent, senseless ways. It is his spirit that gives us hope and encouragement to continue the journey of peace in a non-peaceful world.
O God of Shalom, we enter into a covenant with you that our actions will be peaceful ones in all that we do. As we pray for peace, for the victims of violence, for those left behind in grief, we also pray for those who committed the violence, who ripped a hole in the fabric of life that can never be restored. Often we wonder why your son advised us to love our enemies because it is an unnatural act on our part. Was it because he didn’t want us to be like the enemy which we could easily do with our sense of retribution and vengeance? We pray that you keep our emotions on track with your Son’s guidance system of forgiveness and mercy.
O God of Shalom, praying for peace is too easy an act to do; yet we know that it is a beginning. Encourage us to go beyond our beginnings in peacemaking to be creatures who not only live their lives in peace but continue to produce peaceful actions in the midst of hostilities. Bring to us a sense of harmony, of hopes that things are going to be better in the future.
We trust in you, O God of Shalom, for you hold our lives in the living presence of your Spirit even when that Spirit has been weakened by our doubts and fears of a world gone mad. Give us wisdom and the emotional maturity to act on our peacemaking endeavors. Embolden our hearts to live our lives as your vision of shalom for our broken world for we know the violence will continue, the killing will not stop, terror will always be with us but so will the eternal and incorruptible presence of your shalom for the world. In name of the Prince of Peace, we pray. AMEN.