Day 1: “Seek Shalom”
“But seek the Shalom of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its Shalom you will find your Shalom.” Jeremiah 29:7
God calls us as His people to seek out Shalom for the sake of our city as well as our own personal flourishing. He commands us to discover and display the nothing-broken-nothing-missing peace of His kingdom in every part of our day-to-day lives here in “exile” on this fallen planet filled with so many hurting and hopeless people. What does that even look like?
I believe (and continue to experience) that as we render ourselves available for God’s purposes instead of our own selfish consumeristic agendas, we start to discover the places where Spirit-led Shalom is breaking out in this world and we join Jesus in that restorative work He is doing that displays His kingdom and glory. And we get to do it alongside others. The “you” in Jeremiah refers to God’s chosen people. This is a team effort where all of God’s rescued-by-Jesus kids, sovereignly dispersed into all of the towns, cities, and countries across this planet, work together for the flourishing of all living things. For that to happen, we have to actively seek out the “systems and spaces of chaos” where Shalom has been compromised, and choose to radically, sacrificially and consistently show up in those spaces. If the peace that comes from Christ really is ruling our hearts (Colossians 3:15), then whenever we show up in those chaotic systems and spaces, Christ’s peace will show up with us and the Eternal City starts to display itself here and now in our “exile” city.
We are called to use everything we are to seek this holistic peace and flourishing of the places we live, for the sake of the collective good over our personal gain. As our city flourishes, we are promised that we too will flourish and experience God’s presence, power and provision.
1. Think of some of the “chaotic systems and spaces” in your city that God wants to transform to be more like His kingdom. Where are the areas of brokenness? What is lacking? Who is suffering the most because of this brokenness and lack? Write them out.
2. Pray, and ask God to raise up His people to bring flourishing in those systems and spaces. Ask God to break down unjust, racist, oppressive systems that are compromising human dignity and hindering your city from being all it can be. Ask God to rescue the hurting, helpless and most vulnerable residents who have suffered for so long because of your city’s chaos. Pray for specific people by name as the Spirit puts them on your heart.
3. Ask God to send you wherever, or to whomever, He wants to for the sake of Shalom in your city. Take a few minutes and listen to His voice and write down what you feel in your spirit. Commit your schedule and your resources to where He asks YOU to show up. Commit to radically, sacrificially and consistently share life with the people there. Share that commitment with someone else, and maybe ask them to join you.
To learn more about the Pray Shalom 21-day Journey go to prayshalom.com.