Thursday, January 3, 2019

Book Review: The Practice of the Presence of God

The Practice of the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence. 1691/1982. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence from the prologue:
A Pilgrim's Prayer
Lord of all pots and pans and things
Make me a saint by getting meals
And washing up the plates!
First sentence from First conversation:
The first time I saw Brother Lawrence was upon the third of August 1666.
This Christian classic is essentially divided into two sections: "Conversations" and "Letters." The conversations and letters both reveal the doctrines and beliefs of Brother Lawrence. As you might have guessed from the title, these center around the notion or philosophy of practicing the presence of God.

I read this one in one afternoon. I definitely found it food for thought. I am sharing some of my favorite quotes.

That our sanctification did not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God's sake which we commonly do for our own. (26)
That the most excellent method he had found of going to God was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men, and as far as we are capable purely for the love of God.
That it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times; that we are as strictly obliged to adhere to God by action in the time of action as by prayer in the season of prayer. (26)
That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of God, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but divine love; and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with God, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy. (26)
That we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed. (27)
That all things are possible to him who believes; that they are less difficult to him who hopes; that they are more easy to him who loves and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues. (27)
O my God, since Thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech Thee to grant me the grace to continue in Thy presence; and to this end do Thou proper me with Thy assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections. (29) 
This made me resolve to give the all for the all; so after having given myself wholly to God, that He might take away my sin, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He, and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world. (33)
I know that for the right practice of it the heart must be empty of all other things, because God will possess the heart alone; and as He cannot possess it alone without emptying it of all besides, so neither can He act there and do in it what He pleases, unless it be left vacant to Him. (51) 
Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God, and that all besides is but folly and vanity. (67)
Pray remember what I have recommended to you, which is, to think often on God, by day, by night, in your business, and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone. You would think it rude to leave a friend alone who came to visit you, why, then, must God be neglected? (71)
Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastened to the cross. He will loose you when He thinks fit. Happy those who suffer with Him. (75)
God knoweth best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we know how much He loves us, we should always be ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter. (91)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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