Sounds Great, But . . .

In my last post I shared a few quotes from Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence was a monk who found he best connected with God during his daily duties – kitchen work. He experienced intimacy with God more in the context of his normal life than even the times set aside for prayer and devotions in the monks’ cells. His encouragement for believers to maintain a continual conversation of the heart with God can help us transform any – every! – moment into a sacred one!

But, let’s be honest.

stained glass prayerHe was a MONK.

He had NO KIDS!

He worked in a MONASTERY!

So how in the world can his advice fit within the context of real life? Because, let me tell you, it seems a LOT harder to have this kind of continual conversation with God in modern life than it probably was for him – at least in terms of the many distractions that assail us.

Yet Brother Lawrence offers us some insights that can yet help us navigate all that draws our attention from God.

• A conversation of the heart with God need not necessarily always be with our “mind” – with words. It can be an inner sense, in our heart, of being at peace in God’s presence. It is a state of contentment and intimacy with God deep down inside.

• When we have a task before us that requires our full attention, we can consider this advice from Brother Lawrence: “Before beginning any task I would say to God, with childlike trust: ‘O God, since Thou art with me, and it is Thy will that I must now apply myself to these outward duties, I beseech Thee, assist me with Thy grace that I may continue in Thy Presence; and to this end, O Lord, be with me in this work, accept the labor of my hands, and dwell within my heart with all Thy Fullness.”

• And, ultimately, this isn’t about feeling guilty or like we’re failing when we aren’t doing “enough” to connect with God. Brother Lawrence advises a completely different perspective: one of joy, lightness, and delight in God! Consider this encouragement from one of his letters: “[God] requires no great matters of us: a little remembrance of him from time to time; a little adoration; sometimes to pray for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, and sometimes to return Him thanks for the favors He has given you, and still gives you. . . . He is nearer to us than we are aware of. We can make an oratory of our heart wherein to retire from time to time to converse with him in meekness, humility, and love.”

[**All quotes Public Domain.]

I personally find it discouraging to set the bar too high – to aim to connect with God in every single moment, as Brother Lawrence advises. But what DOES encourage me is to simply aim for more. To tune in to God’s presence more. To pause more to remind myself that God is with me. To be more grateful, at peace, in joy in the light of this reality. To be more focused on the unchanging reality that God is with me.

How can you remind yourself more often of God’s presence? How can you experience more of God’s near, faithful companionship in your life?

In every moment, you are there.


3 responses to “Sounds Great, But . . .

  1. Another GREAT post!

    I simply utter this simple prayer:

    “Come Holy Spirit Come!”

    Continued Blessings,

  2. Vickie Swanson

    Hi Kelli, I wanted to share something with you. I gave my daughter a copy of *A Busy Mom’s Guide to Spiritual Survival* for Christmas 2011. At that time, her son was 20 months old and now she has a newborn. Every time I go visit her, her book is more and more dog-earred and worn. She loves it and says she gets to read short bits at a time while she is nursing her baby or her 3 year old is asleep. It is always at arms length when she sits down. Thanks for all your efforts on that book. God is blessing others through it! I personally love your blog and look forward to each entry! You have a way with words that is truly a gift from the Lord. I can literally feel my heart swell with love for my Lord as I read your work sometimes! May HE continue to inspire your writing. I pray for you! Blessings, Vickie

  3. Kelli–thanks for these posts! For me, this year seems to be the Year of Practicing the Presence of God, as every few months it keeps getting mentioned!
    Such a great resource, and so simple!
    Thanks to Brother Lawrence, I’m now excited to get in the kitchen and wash the dishes.
    Thanks for bringing it up again!

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