As we are contemplating peace during this week of advent, I realize that the Hebrew word ‘shalom’ may be more appropriate than the English word ‘peace.’ The English word is severely insufficient when used to communicate shalom. More than the absence of conflict, shalom can be defined not only as peace but also of harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. The implication of the word is one of unity in our connections with others and a sense of accomplishment and completion in all aspects of our lives. I have heard the definition for Shalom as completeness – nothing missing, nothing broken.
As Chris said in the video, He is the Prince of Shalom. He is the Prince of completeness, harmony, prosperity and tranquility.
In chapter 3 of his book, James discusses the tongue as both a source of blessing and cursing. In John 15, it is emphasized that our prayers will be answered if we abide in Him. However, there are instances when our prayers seem unanswered, and this can be attributed to our posture. The indicator of our abiding in Him lies in our inclination towards blessing rather than cursing. Uttering complaints and grievances should not be part of our communication or our prayer lives. If we find ourselves grumbling about the government, it hinders the effectiveness of our prayers for them. Drawing a parallel, just as Moses had to say to God “how can we go if You don’t go with us?”, our posture at NHOP is similar. "How can we enter Parliament Hill if You are not with us?"
When we go into Parliament Hill, we go as peacemakers – shalom makers. We go as completeness makers, fullness of God makers.
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Also in chapter 3, James looks at 2 kinds of wisdom. Earthly wisdom is full of envy, selfish ambition and false truths. It breeds chaos.
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
The contrast is Heavenly wisdom which is characterized by building up rather than tearing down. It is considerate, yielding, even submissive. It is peace-loving, not just an absence of conflict, but actively promotes wholeness and completeness. It is shalom-loving.
“ But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
Heavenly wisdom aligns with the completeness of God—it imparts blessings and contributes to growth rather than causing harm("full of mercy and good fruits"). Our prayers should focus on increase rather than decrease no matter who we are paying for. Again, we must focus on building up rather than tearing down.
The warfare of a peacemaker demolishes strongholds by praying the fullness of God for our families, our workplaces, our communities, our churches and of course our government.
Pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of their imagination, flooding them with light, until they experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling —that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones! (Eph 1:18).
Pray that He would send out His light and His truth and that these would lead us all to His Holy Hill and to His dwelling. (Psalm 43:3)
Pray for His grace on everyone. 1 Timothy 2 tells us to pray for all people. Even those we may disagree with need our prayers. Pray for the good things of the Kingdom to be released in the lives of even those we may not like.
Pray that as He turns his face toward them that they will also turn to meet his gaze. Pray for those who don’t know Him, that they would get a glimpse of His beauty. Pray that the veil of unbelief would give way to His splendour. Pray that they would know His kindness, His Holiness, His goodness and the fullness of His glory. Pray that their eyes would be opened wider and that they would experience the astonishing awe of being alive in Jesus.