Category Archives: Prayer

Power, with Peace

Power, with Peace

It’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged here (more than a year and a half!). I regularly write at and, but neither of those platforms is the right place for this particular post. And rather than let the thought go—unwritten, unreflected—for lack of venue, it seemed best to rekindle this space of admission and exploration. Writers write, so they say.

In my spiritual life, I find assistance in using a devotional book entitled A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. I appreciate its liturgical nature, each week offering an invocation, a Psalm, Scripture passages from the lectionary, readings for reflection, an invitation to contemplation, the lyrics of a hymn, and a benediction.

This week’s entry, marking the third Sunday in Lent, contains this short benediction: “May God be your source of peace and power all day long. Amen.”

Those words of blessing caught my attention—“peace and power.”

Having worked all over the world, and having spent the last several years thinking about authority, influence, unity, humility, and cooperation (all in the context of writing my book Embracing Followership), the notion of peace being coupled with power is something truly remarkable, and unworldly.

Skimming across the surface of history would easily reveal that an accumulation of power rarely breeds a stable peace. Stretching all the way back to “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” brings us to the character of a galactic emperor who rests his rule on the might of a planet-destroying battle station and the dictum that “fear will keep them in line.”

Power with peace…not a combination that mankind has been terribly successful at achieving. All the more reason why these words of blessing are so significant.

“May God be your source of peace and power….”

I heard a message on Wednesday night at a mid-week Lenten service. The minister was discussing Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:47-53). In the midst of betrayal by Judas, in the midst of aggression suggested and perpetrated by the other disciples, Jesus exudes power, and establishes peace.

At a time when Jesus appears stuck, as much like a sheep among wolves as ever—when He Himself even affirms the prevailing of the power of darkness—He affirms His authority as Master and peacemaker. When chaos, confusion, and conflict are about to erupt, Jesus silences all of it; clearly the Master of His followers. When injury results from impetuous activity, Jesus lays His hand on the victim, restoring Him; clearly the Creator even of His antagonists.

There is no doubt about His power. And yet He submits. He sacrifices Himself to establish peace. He could have perpetuated the conflict, resisted the arrest, caused more harm than His disciple’s single sword thrust, but He sets things right and goes along to the coming sacrifice. Like a sheep being led to the slaughter.

Power with peace.

Not as an instrument for domination, or coercion, but as a means to rescue and relate.

What would it be like to be powerful, and yet unburdened by thoughts of maintaining a hold on that power? (I think of so many politicians.)

What would it be like to be powerful, but sober? Or better still, altruistic?

What would it be like to be peaceful, but not passive?

What would it be like to be a peacemaker, not a peace-faker or a peace-breaker?

And what would it be like to be powerful—capable of so much—and simultaneously peaceful about the use of that power, about the circumstances of life? More so, peace-focused in the application of that power?

Apparently, Jesus knows what it’s like. And our invitation is to live like Him, to have Him live through us.

And so, we find these daily words of blessing:

“May God be your source of peace and power all day long. Amen.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 4, 2016 in Life, Prayer, Theology


Tags: , , , , ,

If Only I Didn’t Pray…

I pray quite a bit.

It’s not because I’m especially holy (as you’ll see in a few sentences). It’s not because I have some extraordinary hotline to God which sees all my prayers answered my way. And it’s not because I’m just looking to fill my life with religious activity.

I pray because I’ve made a commitment to pray, because I think this is part of what God is asking me to do in this season of life.

Some days it’s challenging, other days it’s easy. Some days it’s tiring, and on others it’s energizing. Some days it’s encouraging, and others it’s uncertain.

Throughout the varieties of my religious experience, I frequently encounter one thought. (Here’s where you’ll get to see that I’m not especially holy.)

“What could I get done if only I didn’t pray?”

Two or three hours a day, time and energy…what else could I accomplish if I wasn’t spending time sharing thoughts with God, asking for blessing in the lives of others, trying to discern what He thinks, hear what He’s saying?

Undoubtedly, there are other things I could do. Letters I could write, lessons I could prepare, books I could read, phone calls I could make, emails I could respond to.

My thought today, in response to my frequent question, was this: “Is that really what the world needs? Does the world need more of this kind of activity from me? Does it need more letters, emails, and phone calls from me?”

No, I don’t think so.

True enough, if I didn’t pray, I could do more of these things, but the world doesn’t need more of my efforts. What the world needs is more of the activity of God. Lives transformed, wounds healed, brokenness mended, lost things (and people) found, wrongs righted, mistakes forgiven, marginalized people loved.

When I stack up the two lists next to one another–my possible activities compared with the things I could be asking God for–it seems like a no-brainer as to which pursuit has an incredible inherent amount of eternal value.

The thing is, it doesn’t always feel so clear, so cut-and-dry about what’s a good use of my time and energy.

And it’s not to say that I don’t do worthwhile things, but are the two or three hours spent in conversation with God among the worthwhile tasks on my to-do list?

Compared with the other things I’m likely to fill my time with, I have to absolutely answer yes.

And so I continue to pray, sometimes only out of obedience and discipline. Many times, I’m not entirely sure of the outcomes of my words and thoughts.

But I suppose that’s not for me to worry about. God’s a Big Boy, He’s responsible for His own actions, and He knows how best to respond to the things I share with Him. I’m to do my part: I’m responsible for pleading on behalf of others, asking for mercy rather than judgment, seeking blessing.

Despite all the books and quotes that assure me that prayer is worthwhile, that it is work, valuable labor, I don’t expect that my question will ever entirely fade away.

That’s okay though. No harm in asking the question, thinking the thoughts, wondering. So long as the conversations between me and God continue on.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Prayer


Tags: , , , , , ,

Digest: July-Sept 2013

Here’s some of the posts that you may have missed from the third quarter of 2013. These are among my favorites from this time period. Which ones have you enjoyed? Feel free to comment below, and use the buttons at the bottom of each post to pass them along to others who might enjoy them.

Contemplative Photography #1 (June 12) > the beginning of a new journey

Speak Peace (July 24) > a special ministry to others

The Sin of the Tree of Knowledge (Aug 18) > where did we actually go wrong?

Modern Alchemy (Aug 27) > our transactional lives

I Just Can’t Get Out (Sept 4) > me and this wasp are like this

Photography: A Contemplation (Sept 6) > more than a hobby

A Sigh of Goodness (Sept 15) > a poetic reflection on a satisfying sip

A Necessary Gift (Sept 21) > some things you just have to have

If you have just recently found this site, you may want to look back at some other favorite posts from recent years: [2011] Digest: Aug-Sept & Digest: Oct-Dec, [2012] Digest: Jan-Mar & Digest: Apr-Jun & Digest: July-Sept & Digest: Oct-Dec, [2013] Digest: Jan-Mar & Digest: Apr-June.

New items have also been posted on my Writings page as well, so pop over there for poetry, essays, short stories…and now also Bible studies and sermons!

Another extensive list of my most significant, personally revealing, and reflective posts can be found on my Silhouette page, an outline of how I have shared myself on this blog.

In addition, I have a second blog which has been running for over a year now: 2 Years of Psalms. It details my progress thus far on a two-year journey of encountering God.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 12, 2013 in Life, Poetry, Prayer, Theology


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: