These simple prayers will help you trade anxiety for peace.
Few of us ever mange to live a complete day of peace, espcially when there is a crisis or we face an uncertain future. We fight traffic, race the clock and filter seemingly countless, competing, voices. We crave a little calm, a few moments of peace, even the tiniest island of tranquility from time to time.
But how? Where can we turn to find a few moments of sanity-restoring calm in the midst of our otherwise crazy lives? We can pray. A simple prayer—even a single word—can sometimes soothe our savaged spirits. Try one of these:
A frequent phrase on the lips—and pens—of the Bible’s songwriters was “come quickly, Lord, to help me” (Psalm 40:13, NIV). Taking a moment—even with a single word, “Come”—to invite the Lord into your chaos and stress brings the Prince of Peace into your situation. Into your mind. Into the moment. So, take a breath, close your eyes and say: “Come.”
Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet may have ended much more happily if the young lovers had heeded Friar Laurence’s advice: “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” That’s the story of our 21st century lives, isn’t it? We run so fast, and stumble so often. So a one-word prayer—“Slow”—is a way of asking God to slow us down, calm our racing hearts and guide our steps.
You probably remember the story of Jesus and His closest followers in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. A furious storm arose, but Jesus had fallen asleep on a cushion in the stern. His panicked followers awakened Him. The Bible says, “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down, and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:39, NIV).
You may not be able to command winds and waves, but you can say, “Quiet.” It may be a plea to God. It may be a command to your own mind and heart. You may need to say it repeatedly, but either way, it can provide a path to peace and calm.
Most of us spend a great deal of time thinking about the future or replaying the past. Both can be stressful. And both remove us from the present and cheat us of the full blessing of this life, this day, this moment—this “now.”
So, try praying the single, simple word “now” as a way of awakening yourself to the beauty of your own life, as a way of fully breathing in and breathing out the blessing of being alive…now. Whatever the past has been and whatever the future may hold, “now” is a gift, and praying that single word can be a helpful way to focus and calm your mind and heart, right here, right now.
Four words. Short. Sweet. Simple. But when we pray them mindfully, they can be just what our hectic and harried lives need most.