Last week during our Lectio Divina practice, we focused on the word “hope.” This week, God’s invitation to you is peace. We can remember Jesus’ promise to us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” Let these words guide your practice today. You may not be feeling God’s peace in this moment, and that is okay. You may feel unsettled or displaced, you may even be sensing the absence of God’s peace due to upheaval in your country. Bring all those concerns to your time with God. Today as you meditate in God’s word, my prayer is you will be reminded that Emmanuel is also your Prince of Peace.
If you want, you can review what Lectio Divina is here. As a gentle reminder, before you begin this time, try to find a place of peace, free of as many distractions as possible. You may light a candle to remind you that Christ is the light that shines into your darkness. Let’s begin.
Advent Reading Week Two ~ Peace
Before reading or listening, take a moment to breathe in and out slowly. Pray for the Holy Spirit to join you in this sacred reading. Read the following scripture slowly one time. As you read, let God’s word soak in. Try not to analyze the text.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”Luke 3:1-6 (NIV)
Take a moment to read the scripture a second time slowly. During the second reading, notice if there is a word or phrase that catches your attention or shines for you. Sit with the word or phrase given and let it roll around in your mind and heart. Write or journal it down.
As you sit with your word or phrase with receptiveness, take some time to reflect in silence on one or more of the following questions:
—What in this passage felt like peace to you?
—What in this passage challenged you, or perhaps made you uncomfortable? What might be going on in your life right now to which the word or phrase you wrote stood out to you?
—Ask Jesus, is there anything you want me to see? Is there something you want to say to me about the word or phrase concerning my life circumstance?
—The second week of Advent focuses on peace. Where do you sense peace is revealed in your word or phrase?
—Where would you like to see God’s peace in your life today?
Read the scripture passage again. This time offer a praise, petition, or thanksgiving that the passage has inspired in you. You may journal your prayer, draw, write a poem or engage in another form of prayer. Let yourself enter into conversation with the Lord. Feel free to discuss all the concerns you’ve discovered today. Here are some questions to prompt your prayers.
—What are you grateful for today?
—What prayer is God inviting you to pray?
—Where do you desire to experience peace in your ministry, within your family or community, in your host country, in your relationship with Jesus or within your soul? Bring those requests to God.
—Are there relationships in which you’d like to experience more peace? Spend time praying over these.
Read the passage one final time. This time, rest in God’s peace. Simply “be” with God and enjoy his presence with you. Open yourself to a deeper hearing of the Word of God. You may use the following questions for this closing:
—What is God’s invitation to you in this reading?
—Do you notice hesitation, fear, excitement, or joy in the invitation? Write about those feelings and ask for God to meet you in them.
—What conversion of mind, heart, and life is the Lord asking of you?
—Where is God offering you peace today?
I pray your time with God has restored a sense of peace that you can carry with you throughout the week. Advent is a season we recall the coming of our Savior and continue to anticipate his second coming. We still long for an everlasting peace during Advent, but may John 16:33 remind you that Christ has given us his word, “[…]so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I look forward to reading with you next week.
Have you gotten 5 Ways to Meet with Jesus This Advent? Or signed up for the song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” to prepare you for Christ’s birth? You will receive an email each day from December 17th – 23rd that focuses on an attribute of Christ. Sign up for the series today and you’ll start receiving it on December 17th.