I know what it’s like waking up at 3 a.m. and not being able to get back to sleep while my mind races to things I need to do and issues that need to be resolved. Nothing helps me calm my thoughts more than talking to God in prayer. I can’t explain it, but I know that prayer works. Praying for peace of mind is one of the most powerful tools we have access to as people of faith.
The child you embrace has a name that is dear to the peoples of biblical religion: "Jesus," which means "God saves." So the Archangel named him before he was conceived in your womb (cf. Lk 2,21). In the face of the newborn Messiah, we recognize the face of all your children, who suffer from being despised and exploited. We recognize especially the faces of your children, to whatever race, nation or culture they may belong.
Eternal God, you know the troubles and pains of the people of Israel-Palestine: We pray for the victims of injustice and violence but also for those who have caused suffering. We pray for those who cannot enter their places of work. We pray for young people who are losing their hope for the future and for mothers who are tired of bloodshed and killing. We pray for the bereaved families, who have lost their beloved ones.
We begin by acknowledging that Jesus is Lord, that we live in grace and that eternity awaits us. The enemies of peace are fear, shame and pain. All of these are dissolved by the redemptive Christ and his love. Even when we ask for this peace and don't feel it - it is there underpinning the whole of our being. Like a safety net beneath us, this peace that surpasses all understanding is a constant. It does not change, it cannot fail. It is wider and deeper than we can ever imagine.
I surrender and admit: I can't control people, plans, or even all my circumstances, but I can yield those things to you, and focus on your goodness. Thank you today for every good gift you've given, every blessing you've sent, all the forgiveness I did not deserve, and, yes, for every trial you've allowed into my life. You bring good out of every circumstance if I'll only let go and believe you. I know that when I pray and give thanks instead of worrying, you have promised that I can experience the kind of peace that passes all understanding. That's your kind of peace, Lord. And it's the kind I crave.