Pray for Peace!
Akin to our Lord Jesus preaching in Matthew’s Gospel, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? ’For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you;” What we seek most these days is world peace. Holy Orthodox Incarnation Church commemorates in her Divine Liturgy the merit of peace. (Matthew 6:31)
Peace does not come from us but from God; prayer and worship are the only ways to reach into that peace; but, those against it and prayers, perpetrate hate, division and violence.
As Christians we honor prayers and peace descends upon us with the will of God. Later than receiving peace, we must guard it through more prayer, worship and asceticism; so we can then share it with others. Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God!” (Matthew 5:9)
Our Savior illustrated eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian.
- The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them.
- Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which works true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God.
- The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world.
- Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God’s own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands.
- The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning.
- The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity.
- The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers!
- Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.
Prayer does miracles and so we shall pray for what we seek most; our world is trapped within devils nest; denying humans the will to live free and in peace. We need our shepherd for we must find our way back. Without peace, there is neither living on earth nor salvation.
As Saint John Chrysostom said, we shall pray “For the peace from above and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord! For peace in the whole world, the stability of God’s Holy Churches, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord! (Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and the Great Litany)
We shall also plead, “For a perfect, Holy, peaceful and sinless day, let us ask of the Lord! For all that is good and beneficial to our souls and for peace in the world, let us ask of the Lord! Peace be with you all! And with your spirit!” (The Litany of Completion); and plead for “And for all those in public service; permit them O Lord, to serve and govern in peace, that through the faithful conduct of their duties we may live peaceful and serene lives in all piety and holiness.” (The Holy Anaphora-the central prayer of Eucharist)
May God here our prayers, Amen!
Source: Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, Minister Matthew Henry’s Commentaries