Day By Day: Practicing His Presence (Brother Lawrence)…

Mindfulness is one of the buzzwords of our generation.  It’s ironic, considering that same generation is involved in such an incredible quantity & variety of things, at such a frenzied pace, that it seems we’re rarely mindful or truly present. Perhaps, however, that is an indicator of our hearts’ longings to be still, intentionally quiet enough to take in all we’re experiencing…at peace. There is much to be said for how our lives can be enriched by focusing on one thing at a time: this is the true meaning of meditation.

 

My own lessons in this practice have come not from any new or New-Age philosophies, but through the writings & lessons of Brother Lawrence, a Christian monk who lived hundreds of years ago. Frustrated with his own attitude of disgust towards the menial tasks that occupied much of the monks’ time, he decided that he would turn every action & moment into an opportunity for praise & prayer. In his journal writings collected in the book Practicing the Presence of God, he describes how using tasks like washing dishes in o prayerful worship & conversations with God transformed his thinking & life experience. As he continued this habit over many years, he became more & more aware of how real & personal God was…& IS…& always will be. He grew to know more & more of the goodness & heart of our God, & described God as real enough to take hold of his hand. Brother Lawrence’s experience is reminiscent of Isaiah voicing God’s promise in Isaiah 41:10 & 13:

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand….For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand & says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ ”

 

The Creator & Sustainer & Savior of the universe is always there, with us every step we take. He calls for us to seek His face always. As Peter exhorts & encourages us: “Draw near to God, & He will draw near to you.” We must intentionally pursue His presence, continually making it our habit to call our attention back to Him, & responding to the guidance of His Spirit.

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