Christmas prayer for peace

Heavenly Father, during this time of uncertainty and rapidly changing circumstances, we thank you that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus or take away the peace he brings.

We pray for those who are mourning or sick this Christmas. We ask that they would feel your presence and know your peace.

We pray for families whose plans have been disrupted and for the many who face Christmas alone. We ask that you would draw near and comfort them.

We pray for those who are currently suffering from the effects of violence around the world and we ask you to heal their pain.

We pray for those who follow paths of violence, in the UK and in Ghana, and around the world. May your Spirit work in hearts, challenge prejudices and change attitudes.

We pray that the New Year ahead will see divisions torn down and broken relationships mended, and we ask you to help us each fulfil our personal calling as peacemakers.

We ask these things in the name of Jesus, who is our peace.

Amen

An Advent Word of Peace

Lockdown has affected all of us who are unable to be with those we love. We have discovered more intensely than ever, how physical presence is essential to each of us. When that is removed, the loss and loneliness can be unbearable. The presence of a loved one or friend, however, makes all the difference. 

Advent – or “coming” – is usually a time of joyful anticipation, as we prepare to join with others and celebrate again the visible coming of Christ into our world. Even though, for Christians, this inner sense of joy is not removed by outward circumstances, we are deeply conscious of those whose Christmas festivity will be very different this year.

One of the names that Jesus was given at his birth is Emmanuel – “God with us.”  Perhaps these three words will take on a new relevance now – and indeed will make all the difference. God IS with us, and His overwhelming love can be witnessed in the sum of all who show the compassion and “presence” that we have witnessed this year. This Christmas we really can celebrate the “comfort and joy” that – supremely – Jesus’s coming brings to us.

In sharing our human life –  locked down in a body, a refugee at a young age, experiencing all the human emotions and situations of life, He “engaged deeply and wholeheartedly with (the) reality” of our world of conflict as our Patron Archbishop Justin wrote recently.

As he also says – “true peacemaking…. cannot be hurried.”  Jesus spent many of his thirty years as a carpenter engaging with every kind of human being who came to Him for His expertise and trade. Only over the last three years did He gradually reveal His true identity, before He fulfilled the prophecies that promised He would bring peace on earth.                   

Before setting out, CHIPS teams take time to understand the history and culture of the conflict areas to which we are called. However, it is only by settling down there that the “complexity” of the situation can be fully appreciated, and the work of peacemaking begun.

For communities who receive a CHIPS team, the fact that there are people who bother to leave their homes and come to live with those who are in conflict, builds trust. Spending time listening and living with each side in turn, sharing in the difficulties night and day, enables both sides to discover a ‘new vision of reality’ – the reality of the transformative Peace of Jesus Christ in their lives.

Elfrida Calvocoressi, Chair of Trustees

Archbishop of Canterbury becomes CHIPS Patron

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury becomes Patron of CHIPS

LONDON, 22 September 2020 – CHIPS, the international Christian peacemaking charity, today announced that The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has become Patron in recognition of its work around the world. He succeeds The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu in this role.

CHIPS is a charity of peacemaking teams who have lived at the heart of conflict for over 50 years, in locations as diverse as Cyprus and Uganda, the Philippines and London. Inspired by the life of Jesus, CHIPS believes that the best way to bring about lasting peace is to ‘take both sides’ in a conflict situation. The charity goes where it is invited, living simply among communities and facilitating a wide range of practical, grassroots projects that encourage a change in attitude and help to build a sustainable future together, free from violence.

Currently, the charity’s two main projects are based in South London, where it partners with communities to tackle the root causes of knife crime and other serious youth violence; and Northern Ghana, where its team lives and works among tribes who have been enemies for many decades, helping them build new, positive relationships across the ethnic divide.

The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said:

“Reconciliation is at the heart of Christ’s call to those who follow him. It is extremely close to my heart, and one of the greatest needs in our troubled world. The current pandemic, and our conversations as a society about racial injustice, highlight the inequalities and divisions we continue to face. Hearing and responding to Jesus’ call on us to be peacemakers is urgent and vital.  

“Having known CHIPS for many years, I am greatly encouraged and inspired by their commitment to the work of reconciliation. CHIPS is a team of courageous people who approach peacemaking in a radical and innovative way: living and working in the heart of conflict for as long as it takes, striving to understand fully the views of different sides. It is a privilege to become a patron of this highly effective organisation in the UK and abroad, and I would encourage Christians to pray for and support their work.”  

 Elfrida Calvocoressi, Chair of Trustees at CHIPS, said:

“We are very thankful for the Archbishop’s commitment to reconciliation and the example he sets as a peacemaker, and we are thrilled he has agreed to become our Patron.

“We hope our co-operation together might encourage more Christians and local churches to consider their calling as peacemakers, and to partner with us as we work among communities affected by serious youth violence here in the UK and conflicts overseas. We greatly look forward to working with him as we continue and expand our work to make peace in a troubled world.

“We also want to express our sincere thanks to Archbishop John Sentamu for his patronage of CHIPS over the past 15 years. We have greatly valued his support and personal interest in our work in Uganda and around the world, and we extend our very best wishes to him in retirement.”

Photo credit: World Council of Churches 

Notes to editors

About The Archbishop of Canterbury

The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013. Previously, he was Bishop of Durham, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral and he helped to lead the reconciliation ministry of the Community of the Cross of Nails at Coventry Cathedral.

Before he began training for ministry in 1989, Archbishop Justin worked in the oil industry for 11 years – five in Paris and six in London.

Archbishop Justin has three main priorities for his ministry – Evangelism and Witness; Prayer and the Renewal of Religious life; and Reconciliation. He is a member of the High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation for the United Nations. He is the author of Reimagining Britain and Dethroning Mammon, both published by Bloomsbury.

About CHIPS (Christian International Peacemaking Service)

CHIPS is a charity of Christian peacemaking teams, who have been living at the heart of conflict for over 50 years.

From Brixton to Ghana, the charity is invited to join communities and help build a sustainable future free from violence and division.

Inspired by the life of Jesus, CHIPS believes that the best way to bring about lasting peace is to take sides. Both sides. For more information, visit chipspeace.org

Follow us on facebook @chipspeace, twitter @chipspeaceorg and instagram @chipspeace

Prayers for peace!

Join us in two new prayers, written for Peace Sunday 2020 but which can be used all year round! And why not join us ‘live’ on Sunday 20 September at 6.30pm to watch our special Peace Sunday 2020 online service? You can join us using this link. We’ll also leave it available for catch up for 14 days.

A Peace Prayer from CHIPS

Heavenly Father,

We’re thankful for the peace we have with you through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We think of all those who are affected by conflict overseas. We pray that you would transform the situations which drive these conflicts, such as poverty and inequality.

We pray that you would bring an end to war, with opposing sides reconciled, hearts changed, and a willingness to do the hard work to make peace.

And we pray for an end to persecution of minorities, for people to live peacefully together, no longer forced to flee their homes and become refugees.

We think of the divisions among us that this pandemic has once again highlighted and accentuated.

We pray for your healing.

We pray for our leaders, that you would equip them to take bold decisions that help us to treat each other as equals.

And we pray that communities will find the vision and the will to make real change happen.

As lockdown restrictions lift, we think of all those caught in violent domestic and personal relationships.

We ask you to comfort them and help them find a way out. Help us to build a society in which violence and bullying is no longer tolerated.

And we pray for peace on our streets, for calm in the hearts of those caught up in disputes, and for new positive role models and changemakers to be raised up across our towns and cities.

Speak to each of us about how we can personally fulfil our calling as peacemakers.

Work in our hearts, and to help us challenge our personal prejudices.

Show us how we can make a practical difference in our own lives, our communities and around the world.

Show us how we need to change to become effective peacemakers, and give us the courage to respond.

We ask these things in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our peace.

Amen

A Peace Prayer from the Fellowship of Reconciliation

Loving God,
Thank you for our bountiful world
And for all that dwells on it.
Help us see that there is enough,
And to challenge unjust distribution of resources.

We are truly sorry for times we stray
Into the path of violence and hatred.
For when we make judgements
About whether groups of people deserve compassion or support.
For times we fail to see long-term consequences,
Forgive our apathy, our selfishness, our inaction.

We are often quick to anger and slow to listen,
Hearing what is simple and easy,
Not what is helpful and true.

Help us to hear kindly and respond with integrity.
Lead us into righteous anger and active resistance,
To speak out against injustice,
Help us to love our neighbour,
To see past creed, colour, shape, sexuality or gender.

We pray for people in positions of power,
That they use their influence for the wellbeing of all.
Help them to act with compassion,
And to build bridges between communities.

We hold up to you those working for peace,
Who face violence with courage and love
In places where it is dangerous to do so.

Help us to be more like your son, Jesus Christ,
Who took direct action in the temple;
Who is friend of the poor and said,
“Blessed are the peacemakers”.
We pray this in your name,

Amen!

Peace Sunday, Pandemic and Prayer

What is Peace Sunday and why does it matter?

In a few weeks’ time, on 20 September, we’ll be marking Peace Sunday.

Peace Sunday is the closest Sunday to the UN International Day of Peace, and each year the World Council of Churches calls on local congregations to make it a day of prayer for peace.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus famously calls us to be peacemakers.  At CHIPS we believe it is to be a characteristic of every Christian – none of us is excepted. This Peace Sunday, in the light of the pandemic and the exposure of racial injustice, that call feels more urgent than ever.

Peace is difficult to measure, but the Institute for Economics and Peace estimates that the level of global peacefulness has deteriorated in nine of the last 12 years. It also paints a picture of a world in which many conflicts of the past decade had begun to subside, only to be replaced with a new wave of tension as a result of Coronavirus.[1]

So what are some of the particular themes we’ll be thinking and praying about this Peace Sunday particularly in relation to our work in London?

Lockdown doesn’t make violence go away

A couple of weeks ago, two men were stabbed outside our office in Brixton. We were working with young people outdoors on the estate when it happened. Fortunately, our team members were able to lead those young people to safety and help one of the injured men to get assistance. Tragically, the other 20-year old man died later in hospital.

This was the second stabbing in the area in just a few weeks and it reminds us that the root causes of conflict haven’t magically disappeared just because people have been in lockdown. There’s now a very real risk that violence will escalate again as restrictions lift. So this Peace Sunday we’ll be praying for peace on our streets, for calm in the hearts of those caught up in disputes, and for new positive role models and changemakers to be raised up across our towns and cities.

New challenges from the pandemic

The pandemic has brought its own challenges. The UN describes a recent worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a “shadow pandemic” alongside COVID-19. Our own experience in Brixton backs this up: several people we’re supporting through our Coronavirus response work are caught up in domestic abuse situations.

Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence we’ve heard on the streets suggests that county lines drug gangs have been capitalising on school closures to prey on young people and recruit them into criminal activity. As usual, it is the vulnerable who are most at risk.

These are two examples of how, over just a few months, traditional support structures have become strained in ways we may not have seen before. These new patterns may prove hard to break, so this Peace Sunday we’ll be praying that victims can find a way out.

Poverty and inequality

In Brixton, many households have felt a sharp financial shock from the pandemic and we continue to see ‘new’ families emerging from the shadows and asking for help for the first time. Some have no recourse to public funds; others have fallen through the cracks of an overburdened health and social support system. Whatever the reasons for their current situation, the effects of this crisis will not be short-lived for many.

In addition, we see every day how institutional racism affects young lives: people who are stopped and searched because of their skin colour; others with family members who have died in custody with no conclusion to the investigation.

We know from our experience that poverty and inequality are two of the main root causes of conflict and the events of the past few months have highlighted the brutal extent of both. This Peace Sunday, we’ll be praying that communities across the country will have the vision and the will to make real change happen.

New opportunities for peacemakers

Even amid all this, we see much to be encouraged about as peacemakers.

We believe that diverse and dynamic relationships at all levels across communities are key to a peaceable society. We’ve seen people come together in new and amazing ways in the past five months and had the privilege of working with many people volunteering for the first time and engaging locally in ways they didn’t before. So we’re praying that one of the outcomes of this crisis will be that communities affected by violence can harness this energy and build the constructive and lasting partnerships that are needed to support peacemaking.

Another positive is that we’ve been having more open discussions with young people on subjects which cut to the heart of some of the causes of conflict. These include fear and panic, mental health and – following the murder of George Floyd – institutional racism in the UK. They are themes which some do not ordinarily have the opportunity or courage to have conversations about. Our prayer is that they will permanently become part of the fabric of personal and public discussion.

Ultimately, it’s clear that the pandemic will bring significant changes to how societies operate. Can we take this opportunity to radically transform how we think about and ‘do’ community, and to tackle the underlying issues that lead to conflict, division and violence?  Peace Sunday gives us an opportunity to reflect on these questions.

So we invite you to join us in praying for peace on 20 September. This year has thrown up new challenges to peace, but it also presents new opportunities for those willing to take up Jesus’ call in the Sermon on the Mount. The question is, will we be courageous enough to respond?

Three ways to get involved this Peace Sunday

  • Join the CHIPS Peace Sunday 2020 Online Service

This year, as many churches are continuing to meet virtually, we’re broadcasting an online service at 6.30pm on Sunday 20 September, on the theme of ‘Peace, Pandemic and Racial Injustice.’ You can join us, or watch the service afterwards at a convenient time, by registering here.

  • Make use of Peace Sunday resources in your meetings or personal quiet time

Our colleagues at the Fellowship of Reconciliation have prepared some biblical reflections and worship material which you can register for here. The World Mennonite Council also provides a pack of varied resources which you can download here.

  • Fundraise for peace in our Peace Sunday Virtual Challenge

If you’d like to do something more active, CHIPS has organised a virtual challenge that you can take part in anytime between Saturday 12 and Sunday 27 September. Designed to be fun and accessible to all, you can choose to walk, run or do something less physical to support our peacemaking work around the world. Read more and register here.

[1] http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2020/06/GPI_2020_web.pdf

Join us for Peace Sunday 2020!

We invite you to join us in marking Peace Sunday on 20 September! Peace Sunday is the Sunday closest to the UN International Day of Peace, and every year, more people use this day to think about peace.

CHIPS Peace Sunday online service: Peace, Pandemic and Racial Injustice

In recent years, we’ve provided resources to help people mark Peace Sunday, and we’ve visited congregations to speak too. This year, as many churches are meeting virtually, we’re preparing a special online service instead and we’d love you to join us!

Along with prayers and worship, we have three short sessions with our team on What the Pandemic Means for Peace; A Peacemaker’s Perspective on Racial Injustice; and How to be a Peacemaker in Practice.

Why not join us ‘live’ on Sunday 20 September at 6.30pm to watch the service online? You can join us using this link. We’ll also leave the service available for catch up for 14 days.

Joining our service is free of charge. If you are not currently a CHIPS Peacemaker or part of a CHIPS Church Peace Partner congregation, you’ll have the opportunity to make a small donation to our work if you wish.

CHIPS Virtual Challenge: 11k for peace!

We had planned to organise a sponsored event this year, inviting people to join us to fundraise for peace. Coronavirus means that isn’t possible, so we’re inviting individuals to do an activity ‘virtually’ instead, alone or in small groups. We invite you to join us anytime that suits you between Saturday 12 and Sunday 27 September.

Did you know that the number of knife offences in England and Wales increased by 11% last year, while in recent decades more than 150,000 people have been displaced by conflict where we work in Northern Ghana?

That’s why we work to tackle the root causes of youth violence in South London and live among communities in Ghana, bringing people together across the divides.

This Peace Sunday, we invite you to join us and help us fundraise for peace by taking on a personal challenge themed around the number 11 or 150, and raising £150 (or whatever you can, there’s no pressure!) in solidarity with those affected by conflict here and around the world.

Do it your way!

This really is a challenge for everyone. And of course, we’re planning this to be a fun activity, not a high-pressure fundraiser!

You can choose to run or walk 11km or 11 miles, wherever you fancy – or some of our supporters will be cycling instead! Or if that isn’t your thing, some of our why not be creative and come up with your own challenge?

For example, you could bake 11 cakes (one of our team has decided to bake 150 pastries!)… or ask your friends to join you for a virtual coffee morning or cocktail evening, and invite them to make a donation.

You can take your challenge at your own pace and it in one go or over several days. As restrictions begin to ease, you can do your challenge alone or in a socially-distanced group, in whatever way feels most comfortable. Our only request is that your challenge is in line with current Coronavirus guidance.

So whether it’s your first attempt, or you’re looking to beat a personal best, we invite you to sign up, have some fun and help us raise money for peace!

How to get involved

The next step is to register your interest, so we can send you a fundraising pack with all the information you need. This includes how to set up your personal challenge page that will help everything run smoothly.

How we’ll use the money we raise from our Peace Sunday activities

Like many other charities, this pandemic has had a significant effect on our ability to fundraise through sponsored events this year.

We’re so very thankful for the huge generosity of our supporters through this pandemic, and we have been successful in securing recent grants to continue our crisis response work in Brixton.

However, it is much more difficult to win unrestricted grants that allow us to cover our important core costs, such as office rental and salaries that allow us to keep our doors open, keep our projects running and keep paying our workers.

The money we raise through this Peace Sunday virtual challenge will therefore go towards these core costs, and helping to keep going through the after-effects of this pandemic!

Thank you for joining us to raise awareness of the importance of peacemaking around the world this Peace Sunday. And if you join our challenge, please remember that however you decide to join us and however much money you help us raise, you’ll be doing something incredible to help make our world a more peaceful place!  

An Easter Word of Peace

Suddenly, the world changed.  Things that had been taken for granted and integral to everyday life… expectations of better things to come … the person they loved most… all of these had been torn away overnight; the shock was overwhelming.  Maybe our experience of springtime 2020? Or that of the little band of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem, AD 33?  There are striking similarities, but obvious differences too.

Even though Jesus had tried to warn his disciples about what he was going to suffer, and that this road would not be easy, they only understood it in retrospect. On the night that Jesus was taken from them, he said many encouraging things, including “Peace I leave with you, MY peace I give unto you” – that peace which enabled him to suffer voluntarily, on behalf of us all, the most agonising torture and death and yet pray for his executioners.  

Jesus has gone on giving his followers his peace ever since and – in the midst of suffering, anxiety, isolation and bewilderment – when we look to Jesus, he draws near to us and offers us his deep-down peace.

After the series of shocks and numbing grief, reality begins to dawn. Like those first followers, we wait, not knowing what the future will bring. We need each other for solace, and yet each is wrapped in their own isolation, and fear begins to take hold.

Suddenly, a light shines in the darkness of our groping questions, and the world has transformed! Jesus stands among us and says “Peace be to you.”  This is not a simple greeting of peace, but the very fulness of peace, embodied in Christ himself. Having experienced death and conquered it, he made a way for us to be at peace with God, enabling us to have his amazing peace within and with each other and banishing fear, “for He IS our Peace.”

Without the resurrection by God of His Son Jesus Christ, we would know nothing about him, and would not be able to share with others that “peace which the world cannot give.”  So as ‘Easter People,’ let us show lovingly to others, by word and action, the joyful knowledge that Jesus is alive. What’s more, he stands beside us, offering his love and peace to everyone, whatever we may face this year.

Elfrida Calvocoressi, Chair of Trustees 

7 peace prayers for 7 weeks of Lent

Penitence

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me – Psalm 51:10 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, I thank you for being a merciful and forgiving God. I confess that my thoughts, my words and my actions are not always peaceful, and that I don’t always challenge the hatred around me. Take away my apathy, help me to change my attitude and behaviour, and empower me to live as the peacemaker you have called me to be.

Pardon

Leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God – Matthew 5:23-24 (GNB)

I’m sorry for holding grudges against even those close to me, for the prejudices I show to those who think differently, and for cursing those who stand against me. I forgive those who have treated me the same way. Help me to make peace with them and to show the same spirit of kindness, forbearance and patience that you have shown to me.

Piety

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord – Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)

This Lent, may your Holy Spirit challenge me to strip away the distractions, the busyness and my selfish habits. Draw me closer to you and help me to think less about myself and more about the needs of others. Give me a heart full of compassion and a desire to sow your peace and love.

Prayer for leaders

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness – 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)

I pray for the leaders of my country, and those in authority where I live. May their policies, their actions and their words be motivated by peace. Help us, as a society, to work together and break down the barriers, intolerance and divisions that separate us so we may live together peaceably.

Prayer for others

 Then he arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm –                    Mark 4:39 (ESV)

Help me to be more mindful of others in turmoil. For the victims and families of the violence on our streets; heal them and help us solve the root problems that lead to tragedy. For those who face hate crime or domestic abuse; help them find a way out. For the refugees who come to our shores; help them find a place of safety. For those caught up in inter-ethnic conflicts overseas; protect and comfort them. Calm their storms and give them your peace.

Prayer for enemies

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you – Matthew 5:44 (NIV)

I know that you have placed everyone in my life for a reason. Teach me how to love those I disagree with and guide me on how I can live at peace with them. I also pray for the enemies of peace. Soften their hearts, speak to their souls and steady their minds that they might change their ways.

Preparation for Easter

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross – Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV)

Thank you for making peace on the cross of Calvary through the precious blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Fill me afresh this Easter with awe at his unfathomable sacrifice, and with wonder at the glorious truth of his resurrection. Help me to share his message of peace, and to be a channel of his peace!

Amen

Prince of Peace: a Christmas reflection

Prince of Peace: a Christmas reflection

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

This month, I’ve been reflecting on three ways in which Jesus is our Prince of Peace – through peace with God, peace within ourselves, and peace with others.

 Peace with God

It is significant that this beautiful verse in Isaiah, which we so often turn to at Christmas time, begins with incarnation and ends with peace.

How God can come in flesh is a glorious mystery that we will never fully grasp. However, the incarnation was neither unexpected nor unintended. It was the fulfilment of prophecy, and a vital part of God’s perfect plan to make peace with us.

The way in which he came is remarkable. Jesus was no ordinary ‘prince’. He laid aside his glory and became nothing.

We see this humility from his first moments on earth – he passed over Rome and Jerusalem to be cradled in a manger in a stable in Bethlehem. We see it throughout his life – he identified with us and lived among us, taking the form of a servant and the likeness of men. Above all, we see it in his final moments on earth through his obedience and work at Calvary (Philippians 2:8), the reason that we ultimately have ‘peace with God’.

As I look around the CHIPS team, I’m encouraged by the examples I see of people giving up well-paid jobs, secular opportunities and creature comforts in response to Jesus’s example. As we celebrate our ‘peace with God’ this Christmas, it feels timely to ask ourselves again what are we each doing to ‘live out’ the principles of his incarnation in our own lives?

Peace within ourselves

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Recently I heard someone say: “God wants us to experience the same peace that he does.” What a thought! As Christians, we never lose our ‘peace with God’ – but we don’t always feel the fullness of Jesus’s peace ‘within ourselves’.

We can lose it when we fail to confess our wrongs; when we become preoccupied by the things of a busy, stressful life; when we stop walking as closely with God in our daily lives as we should; and when we struggle to trust in his plans for us.

I know that I sometimes find myself feeling anxious as a result of all of these things. But Jesus was quite clear to his disciples – and we too need to learn to trust him fully, and leave our fear and worry aside.

Of course, Jesus never promised easy. In fact, he told us to expect tribulation (John 16:33) and trials (James 1:2). But he did promise help, whatever situation we find ourselves in.

There is something special available to us if only we will receive it. It is a peace not “as the world gives”, but a different, unique, deep-inside kind of peace that is unrelated to circumstance. This is a peace that I often see in the conviction and confidence of our CHIPS youth workers and volunteers in Brixton, and our remarkable team in Ghana, as they go about their daily work – and it inspires me.

This time of year can be difficult for people for all sorts of personal reasons. But whatever our situation, let us learn to trust fully in him and receive the peace of Jesus ‘within ourselves’ this Christmas.

Peace with others

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” Matthew 5:9

The third way in which Jesus is the Prince of Peace is that he calls us to be his peacemakers. Peace one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and, if we are growing in our faith, peace is something that others will be able to see in our lives.

We are instructed to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12: 18); to seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11); and to “make every effort to do what leads to peace” (Romans 14:19).

Peace is something that we should each strive for, and it is proof of our faith. One question I’m therefore asking myself this Christmas is, when others look at my life, do they see me as a peacemaker?

The year-end provides an opportunity to review our personal role as peacemakers.

Perhaps I’m estranged from someone, and Christmas gives me an opportunity to set things right. Maybe I’m feeling challenged by the divisions I see in our communities and our society right now and there is an opportunity for me to do something practical to help bring healing, in some small way. Or it might be that there’s a specific peacemaking cause here or abroad that God is prompting me to get more involved in – whether directly or by supporting other peacemakers.

Wherever we find ourselves this Christmas, let’s pray that we’ll understand and respond to our calling as peacemakers and work to make ‘peace with others’.

Darragh Gray, Marketing and Communications Manager

Christmas prayer for peace

Father God

As we celebrate the gift and birth of your Son, we pray for peace.

Peace in our own communities and peace across our nation.  Peace across the nations of your world.

We confess again our failure to follow your laws of love: laws of love for you and love for our neighbour.  We acknowledge the violence and division we create as a consequence of our disobedience.  

We pray for all those who lives are marred and devastated by war and conflict.  Equip us Father as we extend them your love and compassion and seek to relieve their suffering.

Renew in us Lord, your call to be peacemakers.  Open our eyes to the places you would have us bring peace.  Equip us to reconcile all people to you and to each other.

In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace,

Amen.