Moments in Prayer: April 2023
“The fruit of the Spirit is… Peace…” (Galatians 5:22A)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:19)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1-2)
Our April prayer focus is inviting and seeking the Holy Spirit to fill us with Peace. This is the third quality in the fruit of the Spirit list we find in Galatians 5. The biblical concept of peace as expressed through the amazing and expansive Hebrew word shalom and its Greek equivalent eirene—is far bigger than anything we normally associate with the English word peace. Shalom is a state where there is a wholeness, a completeness, and a flourishing in four interconnected relationships—with God, others, creation, and one’s own self. This is God’s ultimate intention for humanity and all creation, present in embryonic form in the early pages of Genesis and in its full vast beauty in the last chapters of the book of Revelation. Since Jesus, this shalom/peace is a present (“now”) but not fully present (“not yet”) reality. Shalom is what God’s Kingdom is all about, and is another way of saying “eternal life.” This is what will exist fully and forever when Jesus returns again.
When we pray “Holy Spirit—Fill us with your Peace/Shalom,” we are asking for something that only God can give by grace (cf. Romans 5:1-2) but we are also asking for the Holy Spirit to move us to action as peacemakers (cf. Matthew 5:19) in a world that desperately needs that peace.
So, we pray first that the Holy Spirit would fill us with shalom with God through a forgiveness that we continue to need each and every day. Each and every day we worship what is not worthy of worship—rather than bowing before Jesus. We put our affections on what can only steal, kill, and destroy—rather than directing our affections to the only One worthy of that affection. Our first prayer is for shalom with God.
Then we pray that the Holy Spirit would fill us to live into a full-orbed Jesus-honouring shalom with others. This could involve the transformation of our own hearts so we can forgive others and be healed from bitterness, hostility, and anger. It could also involve some courageous steps to confront someone in love, and seek reconciliation with others who have wronged us. When we pray to the Holy Spirit for shalom with others, this prayer may be answered in ways that we cannot predict. But we also know that shalom with others is a complicated prayer that may not lead directly to some obvious and full restoration. Even in the complications, we must act according to Romans 12:18—“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Then we pray for the Holy Spirit to empower us for shalom with creation. This is a prayer to live with the physical creation in a way that reflects how the creation is “good” and “very good,” and we have been called to live as stewards of this creation.
Finally, we pray for the Holy Spirit to empower us for shalom with our own selves. We are praying for a shalom that triumphs over the evil that causes us to live in conflict with our bodies, minds, and hearts. This destruction of the self can show itself in many forms (e.g., narcissism, self-hatred, hedonism, self-harm, compulsive addictions, etc.).
Praying for the Holy Spirit to fill us with the shalom of Jesus is a huge and comprehensive prayer that touches every area of our lives and through that prayer our families, our churches, our communities, and our world! May the Holy Spirit fill us with that shalom!
What would it look like today to invite the HOly Spirit’s shalom to wash over you, and to flood your inner life?
Where do you most need the Holy Spirit to stream out this shalom? Toward God? Others? Creation? And/or Self?
Pray words of invitation and welcome the Holy Spirit for your own heart:
- Welcome Holy Spirt! Come and fill me today!
- Welcome Holy Spirit! Wash over me and flood my life with the shalom of Jesus!
Pray words of invitation and welcome for the Church
- Welcome Holy Spirit! May this shalom of Jesus overflow out of my heart into worship and affection toward you!
- Welcome Holy Spirit! May this shalom of Jesus overflow out of my heart upon _________ today! (Repeat this with specific names of those in your sphere of influence where you may need to give forgiveness, receive forgiveness, and/or be healed from a bitter spirit.)
- Welcome Holy Spirit! May this shalom of Jesus overflow out of my heart toward God’s good creation!
- Welcome Holy Spirit! May this shalom of Jesus overflow out of my heart toward my own self—so that I might experience Jesus’ healing rather than the enemy’s lies that “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).