I was recently in a situation that could have stirred a lot of anxiety. But there was none. Well, not exactly none, but each time it would creep in, I would acknowledge it, pray about it, and let God keep everything in perspective. A handful of my friends were praying as well. They had started the day before, and I’d received several messages through the morning reminding me of their faithfulness.
The day went so well. Once I was in the situation and busy, I didn’t think about the things that stirred my anxiety. They fell away. I looked back at the end of the day and realized the abiding sense of peace I had through it all. And I knew it was prayer-based peace.
I’m not saying the prayers of my friends had the power to give me peace. The power and peace wasn’t from them. It was because of who God is and how he provides. Prayer isn’t a magical string of words that mystically creates a desired result. If what we pray for is not God’s will, he’s good enough to slow or stop our request. I could have experienced more anxiety that day, and God would have provided in another way. He would have offered me the tools and strength to deal with the anxiety. He would still honor the prayers of people coming together and trusting him.
God gives us peace at times (even when we don’t pray) because of who he is. He is the source of all true peace—although we often give others, including ourselves, credit or settle for a sense of peace inferior to his. I have experienced his peace without asking and without explanation. I have experienced peace that has followed my own prayers. And then there are the times, like the recent situation, when I experienced peace on the heels of my friends’ prayers. While nothing can truly add to God’s peace and presence, it is emphasized in the context of friends’ faithfulness. It is an abundant blessing to be spiritually surrounded by faithful friends.
Foster the relationships that draw you closer to God. And get plenty of your own prayer practice on behalf of others. The sense of community and support within the context of faith is one of the sweetest experiences of my life. I long for you to experience it as well.