Book Review: Practicing the Presence of God
The Practice of the Presence of God Author: Brother Lawrence
Pray without Ceasing
Prayer is intensely personal within western Christianity. Many of us do not even feel comfortable praying out loud. Our church prayer meeting are generally done in silence, and our prayers saved for things that we consider important.
In South Korea, prayer is a community experience. South Korean Christians pray out loud, together, and all at the same time.
Neither of these expressions is wrong, instead it shows the diversity of prayer training that Christians receive. We learn prayer generally in two ways; through biblical teaching and watching examples. Our prayer life is very much shaped by the lessons we learn from active learning and watching.
What does your prayer life look like? Chances are that your prayer life looks very much the same as those around you.
One of the passages of scripture that has always challenged my prayer life is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. This set of verses instructs to believers to both rejoice and pray continuously. We get the picture that God's will for His people is for each of them to be in continuous and joyful communication with Him.
Beautiful and Challenging Truth
That is a beautiful and challenging truth. Through Christ, God has granted us total and complete access to Him. Yet, we do not take advantage of this truth. Our prayer lives hardly ever resembled what we might call "without ceasing".
Brother Lawrence's book The Practice of the Presence of God, changed how I viewed this passage in a profound way.
This book is a collection of letters, conversation and articles articulated by Brother Lawrence to many friends and acquaintances, all of which revolve around one simple truth. God is everywhere, and that we live our life always in His presence.
This truth was overwhelming for Brother Lawrence and it came out in his writing.
"That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation, to think of trifles and fooleries. That we should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of GOD; which would yield us great joy in being devoted to Him"
This beautiful truth revolutionized how He encountered and communicated with God. He set himself to a difficult practice of choosing God moment by moment.
"This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world. Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge; at other times I beheld Him in my heart as my FATHER, as my GOD: I worshipped Him the oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy Presence, and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I found no small pain in this exercise, and yet I continued it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred, without troubling or disquieting myself when my mind had wandered involuntarily. I made this my business, as much all the day long as at the appointed times of prayer; for at all times, every hour, every minute, even in the height of my business, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of interrupting my thought of GOD."
Making it Our Business
This book is a recommended read to anyone who want to make it their "own business" to focus their hearts on God, moment by moment, and never again feel hindered in by time (or any other excuse) from experiencing and communicating with God.
Plus it is FREE in digital format...