The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence … I was given this book in the 1982 Whitaker House edition for Christmas by my father. It has been “translated” into modern English and colloquialisms, which is normally a death-knell, but in this case – it worked. The book itself is extremely short – it’s the size of my hand and only 93 pages long, including a short biography.
I found this book a great blessing, and I can but think that I will be turning to it often to remind myself to practice responding to the presence of the Lord in all times, concentrating myself on serving Him, and turning my mind and heart to loving Him. The book consists largely of letters that Brother Lawrence wrote to his friends. They are largely on the same topic, and though one could easily read the whole book in a sitting, I found myself reading a letter and putting the book down for a day or so while I digested.
I want to say that I dwell in this presence, but of course that’s ridiculous. Sometimes in prayer I sit in the presence of God, and I bliss out. But even for a few moments, I can feel the pressure of life calling me back – and my flesh, freaked out by the bliss, not in control, it yanks me back. Soon enough I find myself back to “normal”, as Paul says – married women are concerned with the things of this world, not things of the Lord.
I regret that. But this book reminds me that this blessing is something to strive for, a “discipline” to return to. Nothing comes easily, even communion. One day I will be in His presence for all of time… until then, any moment I can spend with the Lord is a jewel in itself, and should be appreciated as such.
So, I will try not to envy Brother Lawrence, but to learn from his example. And I will refer back to this little collection of letters, certainly.