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The Power of Prayer and Meditation

06/03/2015 11:17 am ET | Updated Jun 03, 2016
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A peace that surpasses all understanding . . .
‒Philippians 4:6-8

Considering what I'd been through, I would rather die than go back to the way I'd lived before; it had been sheer hell for me. But perhaps I'd had to experience hell to know peace. There had been no place where I could run to, nor any doctor who could have stopped my pain. That's because no doctor can heal the wounds that live in our thoughts.

My emotional pain was so hard to bear that I would rather have had a physical affliction; but having a broken soul that was without peace was for me like living in hell. Maybe I'd just needed to grow in reaching an understanding about the true nature of life and God. But no matter the reason for having suffered, I never want to go back there, so I choose to spend the rest of my life keeping peace in my mind and heart to the best of my ability.

No amount of fame or fortune can come close to living peacefully in our own skin. When we find peace, everything else in the whole world changes: we value everyone around us and we find good fortune no matter where we go. When we are at peace, we are able to see the life and beauty in nature and especially in the people around us, who provide our greatest joy. The more we are at peace with others, the greater the peace that greets us at every turn. Anyone who has experienced such peace becomes devoted to sharing it with everyone they meet.

Hardships and tragedies are a constant reminder to keep connected to God through prayer, reading, and reflection. It's important to keep our hearts open so we may reach out to others who may be in that same kind of hell where we once were held prisoner. In helping them, we provide someone in need with the remedy that will soothe their broken spirit.

To maintain God's peace, we must give up the need to be right, along with the need to control. We must humble ourselves and give it all to God, trusting that we will be shown the way to whatever it is we need to know, as well as Who is in control. Peace must come from within us first, before we can help bring it to anyone else. Peace does not come from outside us, even if we travel across the world searching for it; we will not find it anywhere but inside ourselves, as it is already within us, just where it has always been.

People who depend on someone else to give them a peaceful life eventually come to understand that this is something they must cultivate within and for themselves. We are all capable of finding our way to God's peace, and we must bring it to everything we see and hear that doesn't feel comfortable, beginning with making peaceful choices with our own family members, along with everyone else around us.

We are not here to change other people, but instead to change our own thoughts until we fully understand God's message to love one another. We can't go out into the world spreading peace, love, and joy if we haven't made peace with our own household. We must first clear our thoughts and find our own inner peace before we can bring it to anyone else.

I understand more each day why peace is so hard to keep for very long; that's because it requires constant vigilance, and even the slightest indifference can demolish it instantly. We each need to find peace and understanding in order to live in this world, and prayer and meditation are the most powerful ways to learn how to cultivate these qualities. By keeping our hearts, minds, and souls fixed on the word of God, we accept one of the greatest treasures we could ever hope to find. Continuously praying, meditating, reading, and reflecting are ways to help maintain our own peace in this chaotic yet wonderful world.

About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's
works graced locations from churches to public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures and inspirational books, including A Course in Miracles and the works of Marianne Williamson among many others. The mother of two children and a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom.