In Practicing God’s Presence, Robert Elmer endeavors to translate the lofty verbiage of Brother Lawrence’s classic Practicing the Presence of God into modern day language for contemporary readers. Elmer informs readers this is not a word for word but a thought for thought translation.
Robert Elmer is an assistant pastor, writer of several genres, and editor. The book is broken down into four parts: Conversations with Brother Lawrence; Letters from Brother Lawrence; Spiritual Sayings of Brother Lawrence; and Ideas for Practicing the Presence. This is a short 112-page book, which can easily be read in one sitting.
As with any paraphrase, some passages may not match the original’s intent. Consider this passage: “You won’t find many people who have reached this place [of continuously practicing the presence of God] though, because God grants His special grace only to a few chosen souls.” This does not strike me as an accurate rendering of the spirit of Brother Lawrence’s message. I struggled with this passage and the issues it raises of God’s preference for one child over another.
While our culture often reduces the noble and literary to works that are available to the most common man, I find this rendering cliché laden and wearisome. I questioned if Brother Lawrence’s thoughts were accurately reflected, and often found myself longing for that original text. If, however, you are a fan of The Message, you may enjoy this rendition of Brother Lawrence. -- Suzanne Rae Deshchidn, Christian Book Previews.com
A modern update of a beloved classic.
The sayings of Brother Lawrence have inspired thousands to live a life sold-out for Christ. Originally published as a brief booklet shortly after Lawrence's death in 1691, his classic work The Practice of the Presence of God has crossed nearly every denominational and cultural line.
Yet despite its classic status, Brother Lawrence's seventeenth-century description of the Christian life is admittedly difficult for today's reader to follow. Sadly, this prevents all but the most dedicated readers from uncovering the spiritual treasures hidden under centuries of changing language.
In this modern edition, Robert Elmer updates the ancient language, not the timeless message. Elmer's twenty-five years of experience as a writer and editor helps him unlock what was originally a straightforward account of how to love God straight from the heart, using accessible language that every reader can understand.