Read Philippians 4:4-9

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:7 (NRSV)

Worrying seemed to come naturally to me. I worried about the past: Did I say the wrong thing? Make the wrong choice? And I worried about the future: Is everything going to work out? Will I do the right thing? This pattern made it difficult to enjoy life. For years, I searched for ways to change. I found lots of things that helped: yoga, exercise, and books on the topic. My doctor prescribed meditation or contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is about listening: offering a prayer and then focusing on breathing in and out. This allows us to hear the answers God sends. It might not be words that we hear but rather a feeling of love or comfort.

Through prayer, I have come to know in my heart that God loves me, wants the best for me, and is always with me. God takes away my worries and fills me with divine peace and love. In the past I had been concerned that my issues were not big enough to bother God with, but now I know that God loves every person and wants to help us all.

Now when I start the old pattern of worrying, I try to recognize it and offer a prayer. Then I take some deep breaths and wait for the peace of God to fill my mind and heart. While worrying closes me off, feeling connected with God’s love opens me up to live my life joyously.

Prayer: Dear God, take away our worries and fill us with peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Thought for the day: In both the big and little concerns of life, God wants to help me.

—Jennifer Jennings, Tennessee