I've been reading a book that a friend from Sunday School has referred to numerous times in our class, PRACTICING HIS PRESENCE by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach. Brother Lawrence (Nicholas Herman) of France died in 1691. Frank Lauback went home to be with the Lord in 1970. Both men wrote about practicing the presence of the Lord on a moment by moment basis.
Brother Lawrence was born into poverty in French Lorraine in 1611. He became a Christian at the age of 18, became a soldier and then a footman. At the age of 55, he entered a religious community called the Carmelites and became what was known as a "lay brother", from whence came his name "Brother Lawrence". During those years he served mostly in the hospital kitchen. But within that community and later beyond, became known for his experience of practicing the presence of God. We are privileged to learn a little more of how he came to do this through some letters that he wrote and that were later published.
Frank Laubach was born in the U.S. in 1884, almost 200 years after the death of Brother Lawrence. Forty five years later he would be serving as a missionary in the Phillipines. It was not til he was 45 that Frank began "practicing the presence of Christ" and 45 years later, he went home to be with the Lord. He was one of the most well known and well travelled men on earth at that time. Countless honors were bestowed upon him during his lifetime including Man of the Year to which he commented "The Lord will not wish to count my trophies but my scars." He wrote over 50 books, several of which were best sellers. He was perhaps the greatest educator of his time. His accomplishments are virutally endless. But what stands out most are the letters he wrote to his father regarding his experience of "practicing the presence of Christ."
January 20, 1930 he wrote :
"Although I have been a minister and a missionary for fifteen years, I have not lived the entire day of every day, minute by minute to follow the will of God. Two years ago a profound dissatisfaction led me to begin trying to line up my actions with the will of God about every fifteen minutes or every half hour. But this year I have started out to live ALL my waking moments in conscious listening to the inner voice, asking without ceasing ,"What, Father, do you desire said? What, Father do you desire THIS MINUTE?" It is clear that is exactly what Jesus was doing all day every day [while he walked on this earth]."
Now as you are reading this maybe you are thinking "That is absurd! No one can think about God every minute of every day." But...is that really impossible?
I have found myself throughout my life talking to God throughout my day, about big things and little things. In fact, we really have an ongoing conversation. So, to me, that does not really sound SO far-fetched. However, I can say that I have not attained the level to which either of these saints did....every minute of every day. Yet it is something to press toward.
Does He not say "Pray without ceasing"?
Does He not say "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in ALL of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
Does He not say "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you."
If we are acknowledging Him in every thing we do, if we are seeking Him above all else, will that not lead to praying without ceasing and therefore be "practicing the presence"?
Here are just a few instances of how that can play out as I have experienced it just today....
As soon as you open your eyes, acknowledge Him. Ask for His guidance throughout the day, ask for His help with whatever problems you may be facing today. Thank Him you were able to sleep through the night.
As my granddaughter and I pulled weeds this morning, we talked of Adam and Eve, and how it was all their fault that we have weeds. Now maybe you are wondering how that is "practicing the presence"? I think it is because it gave me the opportunity to bring Him into our conversation. To which she replied "Yes, Mimi, that was sin and Jesus died for our sins." Oh yes, I was practicing the presence as inwardly I praised Him that this child knows that already at the tender age of 5!!
Later, still pulling weeds, I asked her what her favorite song was. She replied "One, Two, Three". I was puzzled. I said "I don't think I know that song". So she began to sing
One, Two Three...Jesus loves me
One, Two Jesus loves you.
Three and four, He loves you more
Than you've ever been loved before
Five, Six, Seven I'm going to Heaven
Eight and Nine soon to be mine
Nine and ten
Let's sing it again.
Now if that wouldn't bring any grandmother into His presence, I don't know what would. Oh yes, I was praising Him big time that that song was her favorite!!!
Still later upon hearing of my son-in-love's grandmother's health crisis, I uttered a prayer for comfort and healing, direction for the doctors and comfort for the family. Others were on my mind as I drove away, many who are needing His healing touch today.
A few minutes later I was standing in Lowe's looking at a variety of plants in all different shapes and colors, marvelling at His handiwork and asking Him to help me make the wisest choices.
Home again, checking email and Facebook, I was stirred and brought into His presence once more by the numerous needs that were voiced from both sources.
You see it is not as hard as one would think. Yet I am not to the level of intimacy that Brother Lawrence or Frank achieved....but I hope to be one day. But I do know that He is always there, waiting to speak to us, waiting for us to come to Him with every detail of our life. He desires for us to acknowledge His presence, every moment of every day.
How about you? Have you entered His presence today? It's not too late.........
19 hours ago