PRAYING IN PEACE
“In peace let us pray to the Lord.” (Beginning of the Great Litany of Byzantine Liturgy)
This is the first petition, at the very beginning of Divine Liturgy, calling us to pray “in peace.” How can I pray “in peace”? By handing everything over to God and not worrying, as St. Paul says rather emphatically: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)
So I need not muster up my own “peace,” but rather open myself up to the peace of God, “which surpasses all understanding,” including my own understanding, and hand over to Him, with thanksgiving, all my requests and worries. “Peace” is a gift that comes from outside me, from “the God of peace” (Rom 15:33), when I hand myself over to communion with Him. His peace enables me, first, to make peace with myself, and then to carry it beyond myself, in forgiveness and acceptance of others.
Today let me open myself up to God’s peace, handing over my requests and worries to Him. It is this gift, His peace, that likens me to Him as a child of God, and brings happiness or “blessedness” to me and those around me: “Blessed are the peacemakers,” says the Lord, “for they,” like Him, “shall be called sons of God.” (Mt 5:9)