by Nora

Just before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ kept the passover with His disciples. He spoke to them with great love as He comforted them concerning His impending death. He blessed them with His peace:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

After washing their feet, sharing this special meal with them, teaching them, Last-Supper-Mormonexpressing His love for them, and praying for them, the Lord Jesus Christ left for the Garden of Gethsemane, where the suffering of the Atonement began. Jesus’s disciples, who did not really understand that He was about to suffer and die for mankind, felt great anguish and despair as they watched Him die and be laid in the tomb. Where could they find peace?

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nicknamed “Mormons”) believe that true peace can only be found by following the teachings of Jesus Christ. We can obtain the peace He has promised through prayer and supplication in times of trial, thankfulness of heart, and repentance and forgiveness.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

We all face terrible trials in life, whether caused by our own sins and mistakes or by the choices of others. Other trials, such as death and the loss of loved ones, come to every human being, regardless of circumstance. We believe that Jesus Christ, through His atonement, has paid for our sins and sufferings if we repent and have faith in Him. Through the power of His resurrection, the spirits and bodies of all men will be reunited one day, in perfect health and completeness. The ordinances of the temple (Mormon temples, temples of The Church of Jesus Christ) make it possible for family bonds to continue throughout eternity (Temples are sanctuaries of God, much like the Tabernacle in Moses’ day). Even with these glorious temple promises, finding peace in our daily trials can still sometimes be difficult until we learn to seek it from Jesus Christ. The scriptures teach us how to draw close to our Savior and feel His peace, even during our greatest troubles.

Finding Peace in Jesus Christ through Prayer and Supplication

Jesus-Praying-Gethsemane-MormonIn his letter to the Philippians, Paul talks about how to find peace. “Be careful for nothing,” Paul says, meaning that we should not allow ourselves to be bogged down by the cares of life. Then he explains how to do it: “but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6). Prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving can help us build the trust in Jesus Christ that leads to true peace.

At the times when we need peace the most, we can only find it by calling upon God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The scriptures are full of instances where mortals called upon God for help in times of turmoil: Moses at the Red Sea (see Exodus 14:13-18), Elijah in the wilderness (1 Kings 19:1-12), and from The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Nephi, who feared that those with faith in Christ’s coming would be put to death (3 Nephi 1:10-14). Jesus himself turned to God the Father for comfort in the Garden of Gethsemane, and an angel came to strengthen Him. Just as an angel appeared to Elijah with food and drink to help him in the journey ahead, modern-day angels may answer our prayers with food, comfort, and a listening ear. Or perhaps, what we may need most is the comforting knowledge that God is aware of us. We can feel His voice in our hearts, speaking peace to our souls, just as His voice came to Moses and Nephi in answer to their prayers.

Mormons pray many times a day. Amulek, a Book of Mormon prophet, taught his people that they should pray morning, noon, and night, alone and with  family and friends, over all that was precious to them (Alma 34:18-27). Members of The Church of Jesus Christ (Latter-day Saints or “Mormons”) are encouraged to pray morning and night with their families and by themselves, to offer prayers of thanks over meals, and to pray aloud or in their hearts throughout the day, following the Savior’s admonition to “pray always.” Mormons also pray together in meetings and in the temple for those who have special needs. Through prayer, our hearts can be brought into harmony with God’s will for us, which brings us peace of heart as we realize that God knows us, loves us, and has a plan for our individual lives.

Finding Peace in Jesus Christ through Thanksgiving

An old popular song advises that “When I am worried, and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings mormon-journalinstead of sheep.” (youtube music video) Gratitude is an important ingredient in finding peace in our day-to-day lives. When we are grateful, we change our focus from what we don’t have, as pressing as that may seem, to what we do have. Some prominent figures have suggested that we can feel happier and more peaceful by keeping a “gratitude journal,” where for a few moments each evening we take the time to write down a few things we are thankful for. True thanksgiving is closely tied to prayer, where we express aloud our gratitude to God for His blessings, and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gives us the hope of eternal life and peace.

Elder David A. Bednar, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, counsels us to occasionally offer a “gratitude prayer” as well:

Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts. (Elder David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” from the October 2008 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

When we express thanksgiving to God, we see His hand in our lives and feel His great love for us, which is the one sure way to find peace.

Finding Peace through Repentance and Forgiveness

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to ask for forgiveness when we pray, and to offer forgiveness to those who have offended us. Repenting of our sins brings great peace as the burden of guilt is lifted from our shoulders through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us through word and example how to live in order to find peace. When we sin, we can repent by humbling ourselves before God, pleading for His forgiveness and for the forgiveness of those we have wronged, seeking to make restitution for the harm we have done, and forsaking our sin as the Savior admonished: “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Forgiving others as Jesus taught can also be an antidote to even some of our greatest sufferings. We have access to great peace as we forgive others who have wronged us. Paul also taught that we should forgive others as God has forgiven us:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).
In 2006, a deranged gunman named Charles Roberts shot ten Amish schoolgirls in the head while they were at school, killing five of them and seriously wounding the others before killing himself. The example of forgiveness shown by the Amish community brought international attention to the wonderful effects of following the Savior’s teachings:
On the day of the shooting, a grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls was heard warning some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying,
We must not think evil of this man.”Another Amish father noted, “He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he’s standing before a just God.” Jack Meyer, a member of the Brethren community living near the Amish in Lancaster County, explained: “I don’t think there’s anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts.
A Roberts family spokesman said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family in the hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them. Amish community members visited and comforted Roberts’ widow, parents, and parents-in-law. One Amish man held Roberts’ sobbing father in his arms, reportedly for as long as an hour, to comfort him.

Marie Roberts wrote an open letter to her Amish neighbors thanking them for their forgiveness, grace, and mercy. She wrote, “Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. Gifts you’ve given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you ” (Amish School Shooting).

 The Peace that Passes Understanding
By following the teachings of Jesus Christ, we can indeed find peace in even the most harrowing circumstances. If we seek the Lord through prayer and supplication, express our gratitude to Him, acknowledge His hand in our lives, repent of our sins, and forgive others, we will feel His love in our hearts and see the evidence of His love in our lives. The atonement of Jesus Christ, promising us deliverance from sin and from death, will be alive in our lives. As Paul says,
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
May His peace be with you.

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