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Trade Paperback
112 pages
Jan 2005

Practicing God's Presence: Brother Lawrence For Today's Reader

by Robert Elmer

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


The First Letter

Start small:
A little faith goes a long way

From the Carmelite monastery on the Rue Vaugirard, Paris

June 1, 1682

My Dear Friend,

Iím writing you to explain how one of our friends and coworkers feels about living in Godís presence. Iím talking about a model for living, an ongoing source of help. We too could benefit from doing what he does.

His ongoing focus for the past forty years? Simply to be with God. His main concern? To do nothing, say nothing, or think nothing that would displease our Lord. His only motive? Pure love for God, knowing our Lord deserves infinitely more.

Godís presence has become so much a part of this manís life that for him, itís the source of nonstop comfort and peace. In fact, for the past thirty years the joy has been so intense that once in a while heís had to tone it down around people who wouldnít understand.

If sometimes he gets a little distracted and loses sight of that presence, God gently stirs his soul and brings things right back on track. This happens most often when heís busy at work. To remedy the problem, he answers the still, small voice of God in a way that matches heavenís intent. He either lifts his heart toward God or meekly but lovingly bows before Him. Or he might respond with the kinds of words love provides: ďHere I am, God, devoted to You 100 percent!Ē Or, ďIím clay, God. Mold me.Ē

In his heart, he knows this God of love is satisfied with just a few sincere words, and he soon feels as if God were relaxing once more in the deep center of his soul. This kind of experience reminds him beyond doubt that God is always on the throne, right there in the innermost part of his soul, no matter what happens in the world outside.

Hereís how you can judge the kind of contentment and satisfaction he enjoys: When he realizes God has placed such a great treasure in his heart, he doesnít have to go out looking for it anymore. He doesnít worry about finding it anymore because Godís beautiful treasure is all there, right in front of him. Like an unlimited expense account, he has permission to take and use any part of this treasure he wants.

This man often points out how blind we are and says we should pity those who are satisfied with so little. God, he reminds us, has the never-ending treasure. The problem is that we take in so little of it during our routine, two-minute devotions. Weíre blind to Godís purposes because we unplug the wire that feeds the current of His grace into our lives.

On the other hand, when God comes upon a soul marinated with living faith, He pours out His graces and favors by the bucketful. They can then flow through the personís life like a river that has been kept from its normal course but is suddenly let loose by open floodgates to happily soak everything in its path.

We often stop this holy flood because we think we donít want to get wet. Enough of that! Letís take a look inside ourselves and bulldoze the dike that holds back Godís flood. Make way for grace! Letís cash in lost time because we may not have much left. Who knows? If death is tailgating us, we need to be ready. We die only once, and life offers no ďdo-overs.Ē

So I have to say this again: Letís take a close look at our lives! The clock is ticking, and thereís no room for dragging our feet. Our souls are literally at stake.

That said, it looks like youíve prepared yourself and followed the right steps so you wonít be taken by surprise when you die. Iím really glad youíve done the one thing thatís most important in life: getting right before God. Whatís more, we need to keep working at it (see Philippians 2:12) because if weíre not moving forward in our spiritual lives, weíre moving backward. Itís sort of like having our spiritual sails raised to the strong wind of the Holy Spirit: We can be safely sailing forward even when weíre asleep. Of course, if our soul-ship hits a few choppy waves, we simply have to wake the Lord, who is resting in the back of the boat. Just like that, Heíll calm the sea.

I hope you donít mind that Iíve laid down all these thoughts on paper so you can line up this truth with what you know from your own experience. And I hope this may help to rekindle the flame of truth in you in case that fire ever burns a little low. Letís always remember our first love, the joy that filled us when we first believed. Letís build on the example of this brother. The world obviously doesnít know him from Adam, but God sure doesóand loves him greatly.

Iíll pray for you. Please pray for me too.

Yours in the Lord Jesus,

  Brother Lawrence