He Himself Is Our Peace

He Himself Is Our Peace

As I was contemplating the topic of peace, I decided to share a spiritual discipline versus writing a typical blog post. When you practice this discipline, you can experience God’s peace in your life. Right now.

A Meditation on Peace

What follows is a guided meditation on Scripture based on the Christian spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer (a.k.a. meditation). In his classic book on spiritual disciplines, A Celebration of Discipline, renowned and well-regarded Christian author, teacher, and former pastor, Richard Foster observes:

"In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in 'muchness' and 'manyness,' he will rest satisfied."

One way we can “disengage” from the pressures of the world is with contemplative prayer or Christian meditation. Foster states that words used in Scripture “to convey the idea of meditation” occur more than fifty times—and that’s just in the Old Testament! Foster continues:

"These words have various meanings: listening to God's word, reflecting on God's works, rehearsing God's deeds, ruminating on God's law, and more. In each case there is stress upon changed behavior as a result of our encounter with the living God. Repentance and obedience are essential features in any biblical understanding of meditation."

As followers of Christ, we don’t practice meditation for the sake of clearing our minds or relaxation (although relaxation may be a happy outcome just the same). Instead, we meditate on Scripture and the Lord’s promises in order to bring about repentance in our lives, so that restoration replaces resistance and rebellion; obedience overrides resentment.

"Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

This devotional will walk you through a Scripture-based meditation that centers on Jesus Christ as our source of peace. As you participate in this contemplative prayer, you will focus your thoughts on your relationship with the Lord by coordinating your breathing (inhale/hold/exhale) with a very simple physical action (palms up/palms down). As you exhale, you will confess your sins.

Physical Location

Scriptural meditation and prayer are gifts God gave us to center our attention on Him and experience His peace in the midst of life’s turmoils, no matter where we are physically. In other words, you can meditate anywhere, but a quiet place would be best. You can do this while laying in bed, sitting at the kitchen table, or even holding a baby. You can do this in the waiting room at a hospital, in the break room at work, or in a recliner by the pool.

This is a simple, portable spiritual discipline! For example, King David meditated in the middle of the night while he was laying awake in bed:

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.” Psalm 63:6-7 (NKJV)

Intentional Breathing

Breathing. It’s not something we tend to think about, is it? Since we’ve been inhaling and exhaling our whole lives, the thought of intentional breathing might seem silly. But it’s not. Intentional breathing is a way for us to control our bodies and quiet our minds for the purpose of focusing on the Lord and the truths in His Word.

Box Breathing & Prayer

Box breathing, also known as square breathing or four-square breathing, is a simple yet effective breathing technique that helps promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve focus. It involves inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding the breath again, all for equal counts of time. The pattern of breath resembles the shape of a square or a box, hence the name.

To practice box breathing, follow these steps:

  1. Find a comfortable sitting position or lie down, ensuring your body is relaxed but your spine is straight.
  2. Begin by exhaling fully through your mouth, releasing any tension or stale air.
  3. Inhale gently through your nose to a slow count of four. As you breathe in, focus on filling your abdomen, then your lower chest, and finally your upper chest, allowing your lungs to expand fully.
  4. Once you’ve completed the inhalation, hold your breath for the same count of four. Keep your body relaxed and your mind focused on the present moment.
  5. Exhale slowly and steadily through your mouth for another count of four, emptying your lungs completely.
  6. After exhaling, pause and hold your breath for the final count of four. Maintain stillness and a sense of calm.
  7. Repeat the cycle by inhaling again for four counts, and continue the pattern for several rounds or until you feel more relaxed and centered.
  8. As you practice box breathing, try to maintain a steady and even rhythm, keeping your breaths smooth and controlled. It’s essential to listen to your body and adjust the breath counts to a pace that feels comfortable for you. If counting to four feels challenging, you can start with a shorter count and gradually increase it over time.

Box breathing can be done at any time of the day whenever you feel the need to reset, calm your mind, or regain focus. It’s especially useful during stressful situations, before important events, or as part of a regular mindfulness or meditation practice.

Remember, the key to box breathing is to cultivate a relaxed and intentional breathing pattern, allowing it to guide you into a state of balance and tranquility.

Here’s a video that provides both a visual to help you with this exercise as well as gorgeous scenery and beautiful music to enhance your experience. 

Palms Up & Palms Down

Whether you’re lying down, sitting, or standing, you can intentionally position the palms of your hands facing up (palms up) to symbolize your willingness to receive the Lord’s gift of peace (or anything from Him, for that matter).

When you purposefully turn your palms face down (palms down), you are symbolizing your desire to let go of anything standing in the way of your relationship with Him. With a simple turning of the hands, you can physically position yourself both to receive peace from the Lord and to let go of distractions and obstacles.

Fellowship thru Contemplative Prayer

Since our theme this month is “peace,” what follows is a meditation on peace—a fruit of the Spirit. We will begin with a “breath prayer”—one word or a short phrase that can be said within one breath. The breath prayer is one way we can stay in touch with the Lord throughout the day. In other words, don’t make the mistake of thinking that prayer is limited to your “quiet time” or time of meditation. You can utter a breath prayer at any time throughout the day to remind yourself not only what you’re giving up, but also what God is doing in your life.

I have written a few “breath prayers” to help you get started (see below), but you don’t have to use my words! As Richard Foster says,

“Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word…it involves no hidden mysteries, no secret mantras, no mental gymnastics, no esoteric flights into the cosmic consciousness. The truth of the matter is that the great God of the universe, the Creator of all things desires our fellowship.”

That just rocks my world! God wants fellowship with US!

And, listen, this is far from an exhaustive training on contemplative prayer (a.k.a. Christian meditation). If this is something you find fruitful, then by all means, do additional research. I’ve recommended a few resources for spiritual discipline on my website which you can find on the Resources Page.

“Tranquility” Prayer/Coloring Journal

Tranquility: Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal

This beautiful Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal invites us to slow down and reflect on God’s goodness and what He has done (or is doing) in our lives. The journal is something to be treasured whether you are the only one who ever sees inside its pages or if you take my challenge and share it between friends—more on that later.  (Click here if you you like to read the last page of a novel first.)

First of all, if you’re anything like me, you often find yourself wondering where the month went…or week…or day. Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal is the perfect tool to help me slow down, pay attention, and calm my heart.

The book is brimming with beautiful, blank drawings which invite you to add your own color and words as you reflect on the inspirational sayings, Bible verses, and decorative drawings the artist has provided to evoke a sense of peace and calmness.

Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal
Inside spread with a prayer, Bible verse, space to journal, and an intricate drawing (with words–not all of them have words) to color. 

The pages in the Tranquility Journal are set-up as spreads with each theme carrying across both pages. The layout of the spreads vary between:

  • A guiding prayer*, Bible verse or inspirational quote, space to journal, something to color across the spread; and
  • A suggested activity or reflection with ample space to draw or journal and something to color on the facing page.

The prayers were compiled and adapted by Amie Carlson from 365 Pocket Prayers for Women and are perfectly paired with Bible verses or inspirational quotes to enhance the theme of the specific reflection on that spread.

Gorgeous Spreads with Thoughtful Words

Inside spread with a guided reflection on the left and a lovely picture to color on the right.

Each spread is specifically designed to calm your heart and mind so you can focus on the Lord and what He has for you that day. There is ample space for you to write your own prayer and or reflection for that day, and the pictures really are beautiful.

Tranquility Coloring JournalThe only negative comment I have about this book is that some of the pages are either already colored or have some color on them which somewhat limits creativity for people who, like me, care about clashing. But the upside of this negative is that the colors they have chosen are lovely and do not detract in any way from the content. 

The book itself features a reinforced cover (thick board) which protects the inside pages from curling and provides a firm surface for coloring. 

The pages are thick enough to use gel pens without fear of bleed-through. I would not recommend water-based markers, Sharpie pens, or Koi pens, though. I personally prefer to use good-quality colored pencils which work well for blending and detail work.

Here are links to a couple of my favorite “tested and tried” coloring tools:

* You can pick up the U-Brands Colored Pencils at Costco for under $10 (assuming your local Costco carries them). They are GREAT!!!

Friends Who Pray Together Stay Together

At the beginning of my review I mentioned that I intend to do something special with my Tranquility Journal, and I’m excited to share this idea with you, in case you’d like to do it, too. 

Tranquility JournalRather than keep this treasure all to myself, I plan to share it with a few trusted friends at church (probably a group of 4-5 ladies total, but we’ll see what the Lord has in mind). I have started the process by coloring the spread of my choice and journaling some thoughts in the notes portion and will pass it along to my mentor. Over the course of a week, she will select a spread to color and add her thoughts to those pages.

The following week, she will pass it along to another woman at our church. The plan is for each of us to have the journal for a week, and pass it on to someone else on Sundays. Additionally, while we have the journal, we are to pray for the person who passed it to us, as well as the woman we’ll be passing it to the next week. I can’t wait to do this, and I look forward to sharing with you how this works. Once all the pages are colored, I’ll pass it onto my mentor  (Click here to get back to the top, if you skipped here first.)

I’m happy to recommend the Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal to you, and I would love to hear how you plan to use it—whether personally or between trusted friends. Feel free to comment below. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”