A Peace Prayer : A New Kind of Peace
“Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
Graciously grant peace in our days,
That, by the help of your mercy,
We may be always free from sin,
And safe from all distress,
As we await the blessed hope,
and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Here, we arrive at a prayer that elaborates on the last petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “And deliver us from evil. “ The priest says, “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace ……” The peace envisioned here is more than an absence of war or hostility in the world. It denotes an inner wholeness or well-being that is a gift from God flowing from faithfulness to God’s covenant. When individual entrust their lives to the Lord and follow his plan, they discover a deep inner peace within themselves, and it is this inner peace that flows into the world through right –ordered, harmonious relationships with others.
The priest asks the Lord to free us from sin and distress – two things that plague the human condition and cause us to lose our peace. God’s law is the pathway to happiness and breaking it leads to loss of peace. If we give in to selfishness, pride, envy, lust, greed, we will never be happy. We will always be insecure, restlessly seeking more control, more attention, more wealth, or more pleasure, while being constantly worried about losing what we already possess.
At this moment in the Eucharist , the priest prays that Jesus deliver us from all these anxieties that keep us from experiencing the deep peace he wants to give us. He points out that we make this prayer as we stand between the experience of our trials of this world and the confident expectation of the Lord’s coming when he will set all things right. To express this hope, we borrow language from Paul’s letter to Titus: “as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ: (Titus 2:13)