By David Butts
Note: This is taken from the Introduction of Dave’s new 30-day devotional, Prayer, Peace, and the Presence of God, that we will release in September. Near the beginning of this writing project, Dave discovered that he had a rare form of lymphoma and that he was already in stage 4! God knew what He was doing! Dave was in God’s “school of peace” as he looked at death’s door. Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God reflects the truths Dave had previously learned that he now had to live out on that journey.
When you are writing a devotional on peace, it is embarrassing to admit that sometimes I have some anxiety. It can especially hit me at night when I am trying to sleep. If I’m not careful it can develop into a full-blown panic attack. I feel like I can’t stay in bed or I’ll suffocate. There have been times when I find myself up pacing through the house in the middle of the night trying to understand how a Christian who walks in peace can experience such an appalling lack of peace.
I’m not a psychologist who can dissect all the possible reasons for this, but in my own life I know that sometimes, I simply have not accepted the peace of God into a place of permanence in my life. I can read scriptures that speak of peace without stopping and praying, giving God thanks for His peace and allowing His peace to settle into the very depths of who I am.
My prayer is that this devotional will help you to go deeper in practical peace than you have ever gone.
I would also suggest to you that sometimes the lack of peace is an outworking of the spiritual warfare that surrounds us. Jesus described Satan as a thief. One of the things Satan often tries to steal from me is peace. If my peace is only an emotional attachment, then it becomes easy for the enemy to steal it from me with just a bit of physical discomfort or stirring up my mind with thoughts not from the Lord.
So what do I do when I find myself wandering the house at night, unable to sleep because of a lack of peace? I go to the Word of God and begin to pray one of the many passages that speak of the peace of God.
God’s Word doesn’t present peace as simply the absence of hostility or somehow some state of nirvana we have achieved through meditation. Instead, Scripture ties peace to the presence of God Himself. That’s why I believe that walking in peace becomes a clear sign of someone who is experiencing the revival that comes from God’s presence.
One of my favorite Scriptures to pray at night is Psalm 4:8. “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” The very ability to lie down and sleep is one of the benefits of peace. Regardless of outward circumstances or inner turmoil, the peace of God gives us the ability to rest in Him. This verse equates peace with the phrase, “for you alone, LORD.” God’s peace is the practical outworking of the Lord’s presence in our lives. He is the one who makes us dwell in safety. This is an amazing gift of God that is to be accepted and embraced.
–Dave Butts is the co-founder and president of Harvest Prayer Ministries. This is taken from his recently released book, Prayer, Peace, and the Presence of God.