The Practice of the Presence of God

The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence, is becoming a personal “core text” for me. Would any others who are inspired by this material like to share personal or practical ways they follow its advice?

For instance, when in a crowded area, with a lot going on, I sometimes remember to think, “this is the activity of God” at work in the aspirations and actions of the people. This gives me an open and relaxed feeling in which I can touch into that Presence, if only for a couple seconds, before my mind dashes on.

Similarly, I also try to dedicate small actions, or invite God to do them with me, as Brother Lawrence suggests. Often this feels awkward, and a little artificial, but I remember advice a spiritual teacher gave me once, “fake it until you make it!”

Any comments along these lines?

I’ve just started reading Bro. Lawrence’s writings. I’ll tell you when I’m done and I’ve practiced it for a while! :slight_smile:

This is indeed one of the all time classics.

The effort involved in making this a consistent practice is indeed tough, especially for those of us caught up in the rat race. But the small steps of the journey–the occasional rememberance to offer praise to God, or to invite Him into your decision-making process, are invaluable to it becoming the “automatic” sort of thing that Brother Lawrence experienced.

While still a long way off from achieving that kind of automatic response, I am finding that those thoughts do come to me much more often. And I have found that in times of more difficult decisions I am more often able to use his approach of “You’re going to have to accomplish this if you want it done, for You know I will fail if I attempt it on my own.”

While I wasn’t aware of the “fake it until you make it” saying, I can remember going through that when I sought to reconcile with my father. It took nearly a year of doing so to finally come to meaning the words I said, but it was well worth the effort. I can only thank God for implanting the idea in me to do so as my father died unexpectedly shortly after that actual reconciliation took place. A wise priest once told me that sometimes “wanting to want” to do something is the best we can do at a particular moment, but that if we start from there it will lead us to where we need to go. I think that is essentially the same idea as the “fake it until you make it.”

Peace,

This is one that I keep present on my night stand for occasional reference.

I’ve recently read it. Very insightful.

I used to practice the ‘Jesus prayer’ fairly frequently - I guess that’s one way of continually placing ourselves in God’s presence.

I have just started reading this. I need to finish before I can comment further. Your post has spurred me on to get back with it as I have put it away for awhile. I get several books going at once.

Centering Prayer has helped bring me to the prensence of God, who dwells within, and who transcends to every part of my life.

I have read Br. Lawrence and other Saints who practiced the presence of God. The practice is the same throughout.

“God can not be grasped, except through love.”

Jim

I love this book, and yes it was core for me for a long time, and I recommend it to other women in the stage of life when I found it most helpful–raising kids, busy with work, school, family, church and other commitments, and feeling a lack in the spirituality dept. and unable to see the connect between religion and “real life”.

I was out of town for a couple days, and it’s nice to see the replies. You guys that have decided to go back to reading it, try to search this thread after you have done so and tell us what you thought!

puzzleannie, great advice. I’ve worked in trades all my life, usually self-employed, 4 kids at home, so practices that have helped me maintain a spiritual conciousness while in the eye of the material and everyday storm have always been a pursuit.

ncjohn, the story of your father is very moving. re: wanting to want, that is also great advice. I’ve often thought that having unanswered questions is a great place to be, compared to not figuring out that a question is present.

Jim, I guess, as you suggest, that any kind of mindfulness or recollection practice can be an integrative step. I’ve had a lot of experience with meditation in non-Christian and secular settings. Looking back, I see a lot of it was barking up the wrong tree, for me anyway, but per the paragraph above, at least I was in a forest. People look within, may see different things, but I can say for sure that contemplative practices led me back to Christianity and specifically to the Catholic church.

Lily, thank you for reminding me of that prayer in this context. It makes me realize that Brother Lawrence probably also had foundational prayers that he repeated, even though he writes about the casual and conversational styles of prayer. Like much historical writing, it helps to remember that the most commonly shared beliefs and practices are self-evident to the readers and writers, especially in letters and journals. I wonder what prayers were typical for his order in his era?

As a Secular Carmelite, we are challenged to live to the ideals of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. IMO, the “Practice of the Presence of God” is the day-to-day means to do this.

Those who know me around these forums know I can’t say enough about Brother Lawrence! In fact, I chose him as my namesake in Carmel . . . Lawrence of the Blessed Sacrament :slight_smile:

Ok, shameless plug time! Our St. Louis Secular Carmelite community produces brief podcast meditations of all our Carmelite saints. I’m the “voice” of Brother Lawrence. Click on the podcast tab from this link to find meditations on 6 or so of his key teachings:

www.stl-ocds.org

Dave :slight_smile:

Baby steps :slight_smile: Having Our Lord’s name on your lips continually certainly can’t hurt in terms of developing your awareness of His presence!

I’d imagine a lot of his formal prayers were the common ones used today - Divine Office, Mass, Rosary and so forth.

Practising the Presence of God is for me Living Prayer, to remember every second I am in God’s Presence and He is in my presence and not only this but He is also in me and I am in Him and He is also in others and they are in Him. That in all of this every interaction with others, every thought, every action, every word is a prayer and each person is a Living Prayer before God, their lives lived in God’s Presence are the only thing they have to offer to God and they only have that to offer because He gave it to them to offer in the first place.

Isn’t that beautiful?:slight_smile:

My only resolve is to give everything back to God even my horribleness so that I may stand before God empty handed and say I gave you everything even though it was nothing in the sight of Your Greatness.

In the Living Prayer of my life.

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