Peace for Troubled Hearts
Glen Johnson of Covina, CA, USA
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace-
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for in the LORD GOD
you have an everlasting rock. -Isaiah 26:3-4
A young man was shot and killed by police in a park in Covina, California, where I am pastor. His uncle attends our congregation regularly. On hearing the news, I rushed to their home to offer comfort and support. I felt so inadequate in that moment. What could I say, bring, or do that would help the situation?
As I knocked on the door, I noticed several scripture plaques on the front porch, slightly weathered by the sunlight and rain. One in particular caught my eye: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27). I sat with the family and offered consolation. I reminded them of the plaque outside their front door.
At the conclusion of our visit, we stepped onto the back porch. There were dozens of poinsettia plants with large red flowers. Before I prayed with the family, I shared with them a passage from the same chapter of John: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:1-2).
In that moment, the array of large crimson blooms seemed like “many mansions.” Each flower was unique, not perfectly formed, but somehow in harmony with us in that moment, bringing peace. Sometimes radical simplicity means seeing the holy in the ordinary. God was able to use me to bring comfort to a family in crisis despite my feelings of inadequacy. Being attentive to the ordinary beauty around me aligned my thoughts with the healing peace of the Word in Jesus Christ.
For me this year, the Lenten journey will not just be about giving up unnecessary things; it will also lead me to embrace the ordinary beauty of everyday life as a spiritual practice leading to the peace of Jesus Christ.
I surrender into your love.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. (If that feels like too much at first, choose a time that will be comfortable for you as a starting place, committing to expand that time in future prayer.) Allow the rhythm of your breath to draw you deeper and deeper into silence. As you breathe, claim one sacred word (Christ, peace, grace, trust, etc.) emerging in you as an anchor to return you to the intention of your prayer when your thoughts begin to wander. Gently release the thoughts and images that come, making space for presence to the One who is with you here and now. Release, return, “be vulnerable to divine grace” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:10b).
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.