Daily Riches: A Silent Conversation of the Soul with God (Brother Lawrence, Pete Scazzero)

“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”
Psalm 37:7

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

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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.”

Daily Riches: Setting an Intention for Worship and Wonder (Christian Panders and Paul Murray)

“We prepare the children before they go in [to Children’s church] with the expectations as to what it means to enter that space: ‘Are you ready to be with God?’ They take their shoes off, and they look you in the eye, and if they say ‘No.’ then they can wiggle out in the hall until they’re ready, and when they say ‘Yes’ they’re expected to take a seat and listen and participate. …Oh, I would love to start church that way. …we haven’t really trained people on how do you help people prepare to be in a worshipful state of mind. There is more attention to that in a yoga session than there is in worship. People will come and be present, and do some breathing, and prepare themselves to be in their bodies and fully present to what’s happening in yoga more than they would in a worship service. In my opinion, in the many thousands of worship services I have attended in my life, very few start with ‘setting an intention.'”  (Homebrewed Christianity)

“Considering God not so much as an ‘object’ outside of ourselves, for whose greater glory we undertake all our different works, but rather as a ‘subject’ alive within and around us, a divine Presence, ‘in whom we live and move and have our being,’ is a notion explored [by] Thomas Merton. Merton … makes a distinction between two kinds of intention, a right intention and a simple intention. When we have a right intention … ‘we seek to do God’s will’ but ‘we consider the work and ourselves apart from God and outside of Him.’ But ‘when we have a simple intention, we…do all that we do not only for God but, so to speak, in Him. We are more aware of Him who works in us than of ourselves or of our work.’” Paul Murray

“You will fill me with joy in your presence.”
Psalm 16:11

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you arrive at church “ready to be with God” or are you more poised to “wiggle out in the hall?”
  • Do you do anything so as to be “fully present” in worship?
  • Do you have a “simple intention” for the worship service? Is your intention to drop your guardedness with God and let him have his way in your life? Do you remind yourself at the start of every service?

Lord, let us be done with merely going through the motions of worship.

For More: The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality by Paul Murray

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and read my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less.  Bill