I have lost too much of my attention span over the years to write a really succinct book review. But because I can’t read without a pencil to mark up my tomes, I will periodically share a list of quotations or summations from whatever I am reading in hopes that it will be an encouragement to you. This particular book is a wonderful example for those of us who spend a great majority of our lives doing simple, repetitive, unenviable tasks. (Can I get a witness?!)
(Imagine peaceful picture of Bro Lawrence or his book which I can’t find anywhere for free without all these crazy copyrights. Help?)
The Practice of the Presence of God
“Lord of all pots and pans and things, make me a saint
by getting meals and washing up the plates!”
- Fame and greatness are relative values and often a delusion and a snare, depending upon circumstances and an attitude of mind…Perhaps the greatest of men are those who never seek greatness at all, but who personify the virtues which posterity calls great.
- Brother Lawrence’s one desire was communion with God.
- He chose to walk among the lowly, and saw God’s glory shining in the commonplace…He showed us how, at any moment and in any circumstance, the soul that seeks God may find Him, and practice the presence of God.
- As for the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was surprised that there were not more, considering the malice sinners were capable of; that for his part, he prayed for them; but knowing that God could remedy the mischiefs they did when He pleased, he gave himself no further trouble.
- He was governed by love and resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions – seeking Him only and nothing else, not even His gifts.
- When an occasion of practicing some virtue was offered, he addressed himself to God saying, “Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enablest me;” and that then he received strength more than sufficient.
- When he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, “I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss.” Then after this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.
- In his business in the kitchen (to which he had naturally a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do everything there for the love of God, and with prayer upon all occasions for His grace to do his work well, he had found everything easy during fifteen years that he had been employed there.
- With him the set times of prayer were not different from other times; he did not want to retire to pray according to the directions of his superior, because his greatest business did not divert him from God.
- He was very sensible of his faults, but not discouraged by them. He confessed them to God, but did not plead against Him to excuse them. When he had so done, he peaceably resumed his usual practice of love and adoration.
- He believed that we ought, without anxiety, to expect the pardon of our sins from the blood of Jesus Christ, only endeavoring to love Him with all our hearts. That God seemed to have granted the greatest favors to the greatest sinners, was more signal monuments of His mercy.
- When sometimes he had not thought of God for a good while, he did not disquiet himself for it, but after having acknowledged his wretchedness to God, he returned to Him with so much the greater trust in Him as he had found himself wretched through forgetting Him.
- He believed that the worst thing that could happen to him was to lose that sense of God which he had enjoyed for so long. But the goodness of God assured him He would not forsake him utterly and that He would give him strength to bear whatever evil He permitted to happen to him and therefore, he feared nothing…
- In the beginning of the spiritual life we ought to be faithful in doing our duty and denying ourselves, but after that, unspeakable pleasures followed. In difficulties we need only have recourse to Jesus Christ, and beg His grace.
- We should accustom ourselves to a continual conversation with God, with freedom and in simplicity…that we may beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we are done. And in this conversation with God we are also employed in praising, adoring, and loving Him incessantly, for His infinite goodness and perfection.
- We should not be discouraged on account of our sins, but should pray for His grace with a perfect confidence, as relying upon the infinite merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has never failed offering us His grace at each action…
- Our sanctification does not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God’s sake which we commonly do for our own.
- 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.
- 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.
What moves you about Brother Lawrence’s example?
This is a great book! A couple years ago, my small group passed it around about we took turns reading it. Brother Lawrence reminds us that it’s simple and easy and delightful to spend time with God.
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