I’ve been reading a book by 17th-century Roman Catholic friar Brother Lawrence titled “Practicing the Presence of God.” Brother Lawrence, himself, is an interesting guy; You can read his story here.
Some people will
cancel this devotional because I’m writing from the other side of the aisle. – Brother Lawrence was Roman Catholic, and I’m a Full Gospel Protestant. But I have learned that all truth is God’s truth. There is no such thing as truth apart from God. So when we find truth, we should indulge in it, for we are indulging in God.
For Brother Lawrence, the presence of God is “a simple attentiveness and a general loving awareness of God… or to speak better, a silent and secret, constant intercourse of the soul with God.”
“It consists in taking delight in and becoming accustomed to his [God’s] divine company, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with him all the time, at every moment, without rule or measures; especially in times of temptation, suffering, aridity [dryness], weariness, even infidelity and sin” (21).Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
I had the privilege of being a friend and co-worker with a man who continually practiced the presence of God. When we were quiet, he sang; when we traveled, he taught; when he rested, he dreamed about God’s will. I learned from my friend and from Brother Lawerence what Jesus meant when He said, “ For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost1.”
As believers, we know that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth2.” But I wonder if we understand how true this verse is. If we turn our attention to Christ’s sermon on the mount, we read Him saying, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.3” There is no “action” here, only thought. Likewise, we sin when we ignore the Holy Spirit’s revealed actions or changes required of us. The New Testament is basted [cooked in the juices] in this truth.
Consider this often misunderstood verse:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,4
Some Christians abuse this verse by trying to justify bad behavior. They seem to miss the part about “fear and trembling.” Only God and you know the depths He is calling you into in His kingdom. I can think of few disciplines more needed in our lives than practicing the presence of God. Be in His presence at all times, and you will be blessed.
- Bible Gateway passage: Romans 14:17 – King James Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2014%3A17&version=KJV ↩︎
- Bible Gateway passage: John 4:24 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%204%3A24&version=ESV ↩︎
- YouVersion Staff. (n.d.). Matthew 5:28. YouVersion | The Bible App | Bible.Com; YouVersion. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.bible.com/bible/116/MAT.5.28.NLT ↩︎
- Bible Gateway passage: Philippians 2:12 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%202%3A12&version=ESV ↩︎