“…And through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earthby means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”
Colossians 1:20, NLT
Jesus has brought a complete peace into God’s world. Everything is now reconciled, taken care of by what Jesus has done. The precise word is “shalom.” It has within it the idea of ‘wholeness, or healthiness.’ It is in a general sense, being ‘made whole or complete.’ This present ‘sickness’ has become obsolete. That is our message.
There is no room really for any “peace” without completeness, it just isn’t possible. The “peace” that the Bible teaches is far more comprehensive, and total. The word in Hebrew, has a strong attachment to health, harmony and prosperity. It has the sense of being well, with the complete absence of turmoil or conflict.
“And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end.”
Isaiah 9:6-7, NLT
Peace is more than a snazzy marketing approach. At its basic sense it is what He fully intends for the “peoples of the earth.” But this all comes to us with a price. In Isaiah 53:5, (ESV)
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
The brutalization of Jesus had a purpose. He “brought us peace.” And we needed peace, desperately. But, oh, the cost!
In ancient times, sailors in a nasty tempest, would pray to their gods, and then pour oil on the waves. They believed the oil, poured out in barrels would settle the violent seas. (I suppose they figured the viscosity of the oil on the waves, would give them some time to manage their ship.)
Today, we know that it doesn’t work this way. Our storms however, are just as bitter, and challenging. Things get so tumultuous, and savagely extreme. But somehow, we want to pour God’s peace on our awful storm. Inherently we know that His peaceful presence can restore some sanity on our crazy lives.
Jesus is “the Prince of Peace.” We look right at Him when things get so ugly. He has come to do this. He is God’s solution to our sad conflict. He brings the oil, for our storm.
“Please be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, we are simply asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so you can acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works.”
“We concentrate on this, and pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work.”
“We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the ‘long haul”—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the “glory-strength” God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable, and then spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. ”
This is a paraphrase that I made of Colossians 1:9-12, using the Message Bible. This is one of those “scripture” prayers, often found in the Psalms, but also in the Epistles. It does seem as Paul actually prayed as he wrote. This prayer is indeed evidence of this. It has the wonderful side effect of praying while doing something else, and what that might look like, especially when done discreetly and appropriately.
“Tensile” is a most interesting word, and concept. It has the idea of being stretched without being torn apart. A perfect word to describe intercessory prayer.
Do we really pray enough? It isn’t a question of “volume” but of quality, and precision. When I am focused and begin to be directed to a certain person, or a very idea— I start to pray, focused and accurate. But in the “quantity” aspect. I do admit I often falter and fumble this.
The content of this man’s prayer was fabulous, and incredibly strong. It does seem that it covers quite a few bases. We can draw out so much. And yet I keep coming back to the manner in which Paul prayed. I wonder if we could be taught to do the same?
Somehow we start praying in this same level. By faith we can weave that tensile strength into hearts of those we love, and understand the hearts of our brothers, or sisters.
GOD, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Living ONE DAY AT A TIME; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
By Reinhold Neibuhr
Many of us have come across this prayer before, but this is the full unedited version.The poem, read in its full version is truly an inspiration. I find my heart echoing each line, and hoping it would be true for myself. Read it:
It is good to read the full prayer vs. the one that our culture seems to have adapted and adopted as their own, I suspect this this full version has a little more panache and a whole lot more authority to it. I welome it and the light to bring to us.