It would not be possible to exaggerate the importance hymns and spiritual songs have played in my spiritual growth. One of the latter, familiar to most of you, has this line: "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer" (Joseph Scriven). Prayerlessness is one of many ways by which we can easily forfeit the peace God wants us to have. I've been thinking of some other ways. Here's a sampling:
- Resent God's ways.
- Worry as much as possible.
- Pray only about things you can't manage by yourself.
- Refuse to accept what God gives.
- Look for peace elsewhere than in Him.
- Try to rule your own life.
- Doubt God's word.
- Carry all your cares.
If you'd rather not forfeit your peace, here are eight ways to find it (antidotes to the above eight):
- "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psalm 119:165 KJV). "Circumstances are the expression of God's will," wrote Bishop Handley Moule.
- "Don't worry about anything whatsoever" (Philippians 4:6, PHILLIPS).
- "In everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God... will guard your hearts" (Philippians 4:6,7, NEB).
- "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me... and you will find rest" (Matthew 11:29, NIV).
- "Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give" (John 14 27, NEB).
- "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15, NIV).
- "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing" (Romans 15:13, KJV).
- "Cast all your cares on him for you are his charge" (1 Peter 5:7, NEB).
"Grant, O Lord my God, that I may never fall away in success or in failure; that I may not be prideful in prosperity nor dejected in adversity. Let me rejoice only in what unites us and sorrow only in what separates us. May I strive to please no one or fear to displease anyone except Yourself. May I seek always the things that are eternal and never those that are only temporal. May I shun any joy that is without You and never seek any that is beside You. O Lord, may I delight in any work I do for You and tire of any rest that is apart from You. My God, let me direct my heart towards You, and in my failings, always repent with a purpose of amendment."
--St. Thomas Aquinas