During the week, I went to church on a day when they happened to be putting a new roof on the building.
It was difficult to find peace. The workers were hammering above us while the priest read from the Bible then talked about the Bible verses.
The whole time, I had to strain my ears to catch what he was saying. There were times when the message was completely lost, because of all the noise coming from the roof.
Prayer can be like that sometimes.
You decide to waste time with God. You commit to it and show up just like you wanted to.
You follow the steps to settle into prayer, and you think you are good to go. This should “work.”
But it doesn’t.
You spend the whole time getting distracted by the worries and troubles you are dealing with in life. Thoughts about what you need to get done bang around in your head.
It’s a lot like sitting in that church with the workers overhead. No matter how much you strain your ears, the message is lost on you. You can’t hear it over all the noise in your head.
But something incredible happened at church that day and it gave me a glimpse into what we can do when this happens in our prayer.
When the priest said these traditional words during Communion:
“Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles: Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will.”
The noise started to quiet down. I was able to hear and concentrate.
And it dawned on me. It is not our job to work harder and harder to somehow attain or earn quiet peace in prayer. We don’t need greater willpower to overcome the noise in our life.
Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and we can ask for it.
We can pray for peace — over and over — until God answers this prayer.
“Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7)
I’m not sure whether the noise really died down in church that day or if the state of my heart was changed. Either way, I could hear and concentrate on Jesus. The noise no longer distracted me.
The next time you find yourself frustrated and distracted in prayer, don’t reach inside yourself. Reach for Jesus.
Find peace in prayer.
Pray “Jesus, please give me your peace.”
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)