Feel God’s Peace in Your Heart
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Spiritual Formation Ministries
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. -Jeremiah 29:4-5, 7, 11
I was sitting in silence for morning prayer when Emma toddled out of her room earlier than usual. She snuggled up to me on the couch as we sat for a few moments in the stillness. “Mommy, what are you doing? Don’t you want to watch cartoons?” she inquired.
“I’m praying,” I responded. “You know how I like to wake up early and have quiet time with God?” She nodded her head, but continued to inquire, “Why?”
“Well,” I searched for words to try to express my intentions in prayer to a three-year-old, “when I am really still and quiet, sometimes I feel God’s peace in my heart.” In a spontaneous gesture, I closed my eyes and put my hand to my heart. When I opened my eyes, I looked over at Emma, eyes closed with her hand on her heart.
“Mommy! I feel it! I feel God’s peace in my heart!” she proclaimed excitedly. She smiled wide-eyed at her new discovery.
“You can do that anytime and anywhere you are,” I suggested to her. “Just take a breath, close your eyes, and feel God’s peace in your heart.”
I wondered if I should tell her that sometimes she will go through dry patches and strain to feel that peace, that prayer will lead her through mountains, valleys, and deserts over a lifetime. Yet, the simplicity of the moment felt like an ample starting place to introduce a three-year-old to contemplative prayer. She will learn soon enough about the rich nuances of the inner life, and I can’t wait to hear what she excitedly discovers.
“Attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver).
Engaging in the practice of holy attention allows us to suspend our inner conversations and agendas and give reverent and receptive focus to a specific person or portion of God’s creation. Regarding another as an unrepeatable miracle whose life journey is unique and sacred brings awareness to and affirmation of God’s presence in all creation. We do this in the spirit of Christ who saw into the deep hearts of people and recognized their true identities as God’s beloved. Spend time this day in prayerful attention to God’s creation, to the people in your life, and to your daily surroundings.
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.