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Category Archives: Pray Shalom Guide
Have you ever heard God speak to your heart? What types of things does God say to His people? How do you respond when God speaks? The world is pretty noisy. Like a downtown city street at rush hour, our minds are filled with the noise of life, so much so that it is hard to hear the whisper of God, let alone decipher what He is actually saying to us. Our everyday activity consumes us to the point where God is often blocked out, or He merely becomes an afterthought that comes to mind only when a challenging situation arises. But God is always speaking to us, His faithful people, those whom He has called out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9-10). Like a father lovingly whispers into his child’s ear, the Father of the universe is constantly whispering to His children, affirming their identity as His beloved kids, encouraging them in their development, correcting their missteps with wisdom, and directing them in the path to walk next. Are we listening?
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of your life not mattering? Are you afraid of missing out on the pleasures and prosperity this world has to offer that it seems like everyone else but you is experiencing? Are you afraid of being alone? Does your sense of peace and tranquility often fluctuate based on your circumstances? It sounds like you might need a different version of peace to rule your heart and mind. Jesus knows what type of peace we are really longing for, and He promises us a true version of peace that is the antidote to our fear.
God is glorified as nothing-broken-nothing-missing peace is manifested on earth, but the only way such peace is possible is if humanity chooses to glorify God instead of themselves. This puts the human race in a predicament because our self-glory-seeking hearts are incapable of producing what is required for Shalom. The chaos of sin is what has resulted in our bodies, minds, families, and communities. In fact, creation itself was corrupted. (Romans 8:21-22) The chaos goes DNA deep and every human being is born into a state where they can’t glorify God or produce Shalom in and of themselves. Humanity actually produces the opposite. “No one seeks God…” “Their throats are open graves” bent on death and chaos, and “Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace and have no fear of God at all” (Romans 3:16–18). It doesn’t take a lot to convince us that this is true and that we are pretty far from “peace on earth” in and of ourselves.
Kingdom prayer is prayer surrendered to God’s will and His purposes. It is a joining Him in what He is going to do and submitting to His plans no matter what they are. It starts by acknowledging that God is in control and not us. You can’t really pray to God without that posture. If you view God as your butler, or your genie, or some cosmic vending machine you can control to give you what you want, then you aren’t praying to the God of the Bible but a god of your own creation, an idol that is lifeless and can’t respond. But if you truly view God as your Father and King, as Jesus taught us and showed us, you can go to Him in complete humility and dependence yet filled with confidence at the same time. Here is why.
In this broken and lacking world there are a lot of things to feel anxious about. Anxiety is the opposite of peace, and rips into anything good, beautiful or true that God wants to manifest in our lives. The debilitating worries of life easily consume our hearts and minds and we feel afraid and can’t stop thinking the worst about what could happen in our day-to-day challenges. It’s hard to sleep or rest or even smile. Our anxiety tears us apart, so much so that we desperately try to find peace and escape anxiety through our numbing addictions and by trying to change our hard circumstances with the world’s resources or ideas. But the peace the world gives us is temporary and fake, and in the end leaves us more anxious and disappointed.
It is comforting and assuring to know that God is greater than the floods that have the potential to drown us. He is bigger than the biggest problems we face personally or corporately, and His sovereign command over all things is ultimately aimed at blessing us, even in the flood moments when it feels like we are going to drown. Do we really believe that? Do we really believe that even the floods He allows to figuratively “cover our world” might actually be there to cleanse, purify and nurture new growth for the sake of our ultimate holistic flourishing?
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Because of Jesus, and what He has done to bring us into God’s forever family, we can confidently seek our heavenly Father’s face and see delight and grace instead of anger and disappointment. For the believer in the gospel of grace, repentance isn’t shameful, but rather joyful. How is that possible? How can humility be a joyful thing for us?