A prayer for peace can be used in two scenarios–to pray in times of personal distress, and to pray for world peace.
In the first instance, we are likely to be anxious when aspects of our personal lives don’t go right, but Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
This simply means that instead of worrying, you should pray and tell Our Lord what you need and thank Him for what He has done for you. “Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Jesus says in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
And Jesus says in John 16:33: “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
All of these Bible passages are comforting words for those of us struggling with anxiety or anxiety disorders and longing for peace of mind and heart.
In the second instance, there is such a lack of peace in the world around us. At times the situation seems hopeless. But here, too, we should turn to our loving Lord and ask for peace. And, as St. John of the Cross says, “Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it.”
Surviving the Storms and Stresses of Life
These days the storms of life come crashing all around us—in our personal lives, in the world, and in the Church. Mark 4:35-41 tells us of the storm on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples took Jesus with them, “just as he was,” in the boat. We must accept the teachings of Jesus and His Church “just as [they are],” without picking and choosing.
When the storm arose, Jesus was in the stern “asleep on the cushion.” So should we, counting on His protection, be at peace in the midst of the storms of life. To us, too, He says, “Peace! Be still!” As Jesus calmed the storm for the disciples, He will either calm our storms or give us the strength to weather them.
Let us pray for peace in our hearts and in the world!
Prayers for Peace
St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)
O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You. Let Your mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O You, King of Gentleness, King of peace. Amen.
Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903; pope from 1878-1903)
O Lord, You see how everywhere the winds have burst forth, and the sea is convulsed with the great violence of the rising waves. Command, we beseech You, You who alone are able, both the winds and the sea. Restore to mankind the true peace of Your Name, that peace which the world cannot give, and the calm of social harmony. Under Your favor and inspiration, may men return to due order; and having overthrown the rule of greed, bring back again, as ought to be, the love of God, justice, charity toward neighbor, temperance in all desires. May Your kingdom come. May all recognize that they are subject to You and must serve You who are truth and salvation, that without You they labor in vain. In Your law is reason and fatherly kindness. You are ever at hand with Your strength and Your copious power to help man to keep it. Life upon earth is a warfare, but You watch the contest and aid man to conquer. The weak You sustain; the victor You crown. Amen.
Pope St. John XXIII (1881-1963; pope from 1958-1963)
Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, who are Yourself our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, “Peace to you,” grant us peace. Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May all the peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters. May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all. Amen.
Pope St. John Paul II (1920-2005; pope from 1978-2005)
O God, Creator of the universe, who extends Your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation, we acknowledge Your fatherly love when You break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, You make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of Your mercy: send forth Your Spirit that He may work in the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands, and peoples may encounter one another in harmony. May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace which will extinguish all arguments, for charity which overcomes hatred, for pardon which disarms revenge. Amen.