“God invites us to practice the presence of people within an awareness of His presence. That is no small task, especially at this time of year.
How then can we do this? By intentionally practicing His presence first. No greater teacher can offer us insight on how to do this better than Brother Lawrence, a 16th century Carmelite from Paris. I reread The Practice of the Presence of God every couple of years to remind myself of his simple, timeless wisdom. Here are a few of his gems for you to prayerfully consider this Christmas:
- I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence…or, to speak better, a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God.
- The time of business does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of the kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees.
- His prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of God.
- As for set hours of prayer, they are only a continuation of the same exercise…simple attention and passionate regard to God.
- (He) resolved to use his utmost endeavor to live in a continual sense of His presence, and, if possible never to forget Him.
Jesus said it simply: If we remain in Him, we will bear abundant fruit (i.e. not so much us holding a position, but allowing ourselves to be held). If we don’t, we won’t give anything lasting or substantial. May we practice His presence this Christmas and, in so doing, offer our presence to those around us.” Pete Scazzero
“Be still in the presence of the Lord”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- To what degree is your life “a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of your soul with God?”
- Can you “possess God in great tranquility” in the midst of something like the “noise and clatter of the kitchen?”
- Perhaps instead of asking whether we can do what Brother Lawrence did, we would do well to see that we are “practicing” as he did–regularly giving God our “simple attention and passionate regard.”
Abba, teach me to practice never forgetting you through the hours of my day–always giving you my loving attention.
For More: Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”
“This is the real end of meditation – it teaches you how to become aware of the presence of God; and most of all it aims at bringing you to a state of almost constant loving attention to God, and dependence on Him. [It teaches] …a man how to work himself free of created things and temporal concerns, in which he finds only confusion and sorrow, and enter into a conscious and loving contact with God….” Thomas Merton
“I love to penetrate beyond the veil of the soul to this inner sanctuary where we live alone with God. He wants us entirely to himself, and is making there within us a cherished solitude. Listen to everything that is being sung … in his heart. It is Love, the infinite love that envelops us and desires to give us a share … in all his blessedness. The whole Blessed Trinity dwells in us, the whole of that mystery which will be our vision in heaven. Let it be our cloister. You tell me that your life is passed there. So is mine. I am ‘Elizabeth of the Trinity’ – Elizabeth disappearing, losing herself, allowing herself to be invaded by the Three. Let us live for love, always surrendered, immolating ourselves at every moment, by doing God’s will without searching for extraordinary things. Then let us make ourselves quite tiny, allowing ourselves to be carried, like a babe in it’s mother’s arms, by him who is our all…. In the morning let us wake in Love. All day long let us surrender ourselves to Love, by doing the will of God, under his gaze, with him, in him, for him alone…. And then, when evening comes, after a dialogue of love that has never stopped in our hearts, let us go to sleep still in love. And if we are aware of any faults, let us simply abandon them to Love, which is a consuming fire….” Elizabeth of the Trinity
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine….”
Song of Solomon 6:3
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Can you imagine giving “constant loving attention to God? … living a day under (and aware of) his gaze?
- What are you doing to become more aware of God’s presence in your day? …to become less aware of “temporal concerns?” … to be better at “attending” to him?
- Can you simply abandon yourself and your faults to Love?
Abba, before I die, may I experience at least one day under your gaze, with you, in you alone, where a dialogue of love between us never stops.
For More: Voices of the Saints by Bert Bhezzi
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“Worship is the strategy
by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves
and attend to the presence of God.
[It’s the] time and place
that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God …
because our self-importance is so insidiously relentless
that if we don’t deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly,
we have no chance of attending to him at all
at other times and in other places.”
“I have set Yahweh continually before me ….”
* I think Peterson’s words, perhaps written about corporate worship,
apply at least a much to personal, daily times of prayer, meditation and contemplation.
From the Head to the Heart
- Do you agree that you are preoccupied with yourself? that your sense of self-importance is “insidiously relentless?”
- Do you have a strategy to practice “deliberate attentiveness to God” today? to “set Yahweh continually before you?”
- Can you interrupt whatever you’re doing now and take a few minutes to attend to the presence of God?
Abba, help me to leave spaces to hear from you in each day, to learn to quiet the competing noise within, and to be aware of your presence in every event, every relationship, every space of the day.
For More: The Peterson quote is from Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in less than about 300 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)