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God Illuminated Cook: The Practice Of The Presence Of God

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  20,050 ratings  ·  544 reviews
This work contains letters, ways and spiritual principles of Brother Lawrence, the 17th-century French monk who in his monastery kitchen discovered an overwhelming delight in God's presence.
142 pages
Published (first published 1691)
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The Practice of the Presence of God is a little gem. But it is also a book you have to be receptive to appreciate. Without this requisite receptivity, its pearls of wisdom would be wasted. But with the right frame of mind and heart, it is the perfect book.

Perfect in that while it can be read in one hour; mastery of its central concept requires a lifetime. Well, at least for this soul ... and a very long lifetime at that. And I write that without the least trace of humility, remorse or even chagr
Actually, this is more of an author review as I don't take issue with the content of the book, which is highly reccomended, but rather the inconsistent lifestyle of the author.

Here it is:

"Coram Deo": to live "before the face of God" best sums up the message of Brother Lawrence. That even the most mundane tasks can be taken up with glorying in the Lord Jesus.

This is one of those places however where we ought to heed the words of Jesus concerning the Pharisees, "do what they say but not what they
The major barrier to this book is the slightly stilted language. I have recommended this to several people and they cannot get past this, essentially missing the book's message. If nothing else this makes me understand why the King James Bible remains obtuse for many.

Brother Lawrence isn’t a famous man and he didn't do anything that should make us place him on a pedestal in the social-historical scheme of things. However, what this man brings to understanding God on a daily basis, in real-life w
Where I got the book: purchased on the Nook (yes, it does happen).

I'm not really sure what to say about this little book. I guess I was expecting some great revelation about how to be a better Christian but the basic message here is "practice the presence of God every day." Hmmm. That's a bit like opening a book and finding written inside, "This is a book. Read it."

Don't get me wrong, Brother Lawrence sounds like a great guy. In fact the book is part memoir, part biography, part letters and so
Many have heard of Brother Lawrence's quote about peeling potatoes to the glory of God. This book is a collection of his letters dealing with the topic of practicing God's presence.

This is a short but profoundly meditative read. Good stuff for mothers in a hurry who want to ponder a connection with God in the midst of busy days; also palatable for people going through a hard time to read little bits at a time and absorb them without charging through. Brother Lawrence didn't intend to write a boo
Sep 30, 2011 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers
Recommended to Leslie by: My gaurdian angel?
Shelves: spiritual
One of the best books I ever read. I can hardly believe it was written by a virtually unknown kitchen monk from like a billion years ago. Seriously useful advice on exactly how to stay connected with God in constant communion. Not a bit sentimental. Nothing vain or extraneous. Nothing obtuse. Clear, solid advice. A real treasure. i'll never part with this book. I may just buy copies for everyone's Christmas this year.
Top Learnings:

1. We also need to be faithful, even in dry periods. It is during those dry spells that God test our love for Him. We shoudl take advantage of those times ot practice our determination and our surrender to Him.

2. Our santification does not depend as much on charing our activities as it does on doing them for God rather than oursleves.

3. It isn't necessary that we stay in church in order to remain in God's presence. We can make our hears personal chapels where we can enter anytime t
Bob O'bannon
In a world of constant distraction, Brother Lawrence has much to teach us about offering every moment of our waking existence to a deliberate awareness of God's gracious and intimate presence, whether we're writing a sermon or working in the kitchen. One must discipline himself to be mindful of God's constant and immediate accessibility. The result is a life of peace and joy, even in the face of a painful death.

At the same time, I found myself troubled by at least three things: 1) On several occ
While there is certainly a truism presented in this book, and though I appreciated much in it, I believe it is faulty in that it encourages a mystical view of God and the practice of contemplative prayer.

Brother Lawrence is listed here as an author than endorses contemplative prayer in this article entitled, "The Top 50 Christian Contemplative Books– A “NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List”"

For more info on contemplative prayer, visit:
If I would have stopped reading about 3/4 of the way through, I probably would have given this book three stars instead of two.

I was disappointed to learn that really only about half of this book was written by Brother Lawrence. The first section contains a series of "conversations" recorded by someone who had spoken with Brother Lawrence and the last section was a short biography of his life. I found this biography to be so inundated with bad theology and an almost worshipful view of Brother L
It keeps coming into my mind - how much man would be capable of if his soul were strong in the love of God, if he wanted God as much as he wanted to penetrate the power and glory of God's creation. ~ Dorthy Day, Reflections on the presence of God, p.20

[His:] disposition brought him to so great an unconcern about everything and to so complete a detachment, that it was near to the freedom of the Blessed... Nothing could hold him to earth; his vision was not bounded by time from long contemplation
Good stuff. Free Kindle download. Read it through in one sitting.

"You need not cry very loud; He is nearer to us than we are aware of."

"There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because God would have us."

"It i
Mike E.
I read elsewhere this book is available as a free Kindle download. This review is based on a free version downloaded from Google Books: 1906, London: H.R. Allenson, Ltd.

That we ought to give ourselves up entirely to God, with regard both to things temporal and spiritual, and seek our satisfaction only in the fulfilling of His will, whether He lead us by suffering or by consolation; for all would be equal to a soul truly resigned. (10)

That we ought to act with God in the greatest simplicit
This is a very old classic and although known by many people I wonder how many can apply his teaching. The book consists of some writings about Brother Lawrence and his practice of the presence of God and also letters written by him dealing with the practice he employed for 40 years or so as a monk. The book and practice is very simple which means it is very hard to do. You can feel the strength of his practice in every line he writes and agree with him 100% but doing it is not all that easy. Br ...more
I first read this book 26 years ago, and now I must atone for a grave injustice I did it at that time. I was asked to read it by an acquaintance, and I agreed with distaste: can any good come out of a book written by a Catholic monk? I asked my Presbyterian self. Accordingly my opinion when finished was that it was a book of no value.

How wrong I was! Now as a Catholic I am at least honest enough to see that the book is marvelous in proposing to us that we should seek always to be mindful of our
Will Thomas
A magnificent and challenging book from an uneducated man who humbly set out to serve God, and spent his life in joy. His great disappointment was that he never got to suffer as he thought he deserved!

Brother Lawrence saw his day-to-day work as service and praise to God. He set himself a discipline of awareness of the Divine Presence, until it became his habit and his life. For decades he toiled in the kitchen of the monastery, not ordained, but a lay brother, given that job because they found h
Natalie Wickham
To be honest, the only reason I read this book is because it was included in the same volume as the afore-mentioned book on prayer by Andrew Murray. However, I found it to be a perfect continuation of the primary thing God has really been impressing upon my heart this year – the importance of walking in the Spirit and performing even the most mundane duties to His glory. I loved this thought that Brother Lawrence shares, “That in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and refe ...more
I absolutely loved this book! I was given it to borrow from a friend and when I saw the size of it I figured I'd have it done in an afternoon. My friend cautioned me to take my time, and I did, reading every page with mindfulness, catching bits of truths and insights not only on every page but within every sentence. This is the type of book that can be transforming depending upon the receptiveness of the reader. It is possible to experience God in the present moment, throughout one's day, living ...more
Amazing. Beautiful, even. I was very moved by this portrait of Brother Lawrence, a simple, unlearned monk who was lame, worked as a cook, talked to God in his heart all day with a "sweet and calm" countenance.

And for all this talk about speaking to God, all this ethereal stuff about spiritually being on Heaven while the body is on earth, this is one of the most practical books I've ever read. Brother Lawrence doesn't speak in poetry; rather, in his simple, rural peasant way, gets right to it.

Rick Davis
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection is, to borrow a phrase, a book for transformation and not merely information. In fact, as far as information goes, this book has only one main idea. Namely, we should live our lives every moment with the realization that God is present with us, and we should lift up our hearts to Him frequently in a spirit of prayer. It’s a painfully obvious principle going back to St. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing. ...more
Brother Lawrence is a 17th century Carmelite monk who engaged in a near continual conversation with God. Even while he was doing seemingly menial tasks of while he was sick, he had a constant consciousness of the presence of God.
This book is a collection of conversations with him and letters from him that describe and prescribe his daily inner and external dialogue with God.
I learned from brother Lawrence a couple of ways to sustain the dialogue. One thing I learned was that he described his c
Peter Broady
I first encountered this book while perusing my parent's bookshelf when I was younger - perhaps in my early teens - and was apparently impressed enough by it that it stuck in my memory, because while thinking this morning about the importance of realistically and continually 'conversing' with others in one's own mind - a kind of 'practice of the presence of others', I was reminded of this book and decided to re-read it.

What is remarkable about this book is how relatable it is even to someone who
Eric Bradley
Although I have had several recommend "Brother Lawrence" (as I have heard it refereed as) over the years, for whatever reason I did not read it until now. While a wonderful read, I am glad I waited until now because of the depth that this simple book addresses the spiritual life. Brother Lawrence was a French monk who simply tried to practice what he calls “being in the presence of God” by being in constant prayer, even throughout his work day in the kitchen on his monastery. The book is collect ...more
KC McCauley
This book will help you acknowledge and realize the presence of God more in your daily life. He was a man who would "pray without ceasing." He truly had a heart for the Lord, and reading this book will help you have the same. Here is what was said about Brother Lawrence:

• So, likewise, 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
I purchased this book out of curiosity after my pastor read a brief excerpt from it in church one Sunday. It consists of a record of conversations with, and letters from, Nicholas Herman of Lorraine, or better known as 'Brother Lawrence', a 17 century monk, regarding his personal walk with God and how to actually practice the constant presence of God in one's own life.

From the very first page, I've wondered how I could write a review to properly give this book justice. While there are certain s
Brother Lawrence was a Catholic monk, so he did some things that I don't agree are Biblical (like suppressing his outward expression of the joy he felt in God and deliberately increasing his suffering from a physical problem so that he could suffer for his sins). He also never quoted Scripture to support his points (though often there was Scripture he could have used). However, overall, the book was God-focused and had some good insights.

Due to the style of writing, it often took some thought fo
This book is intense. I highly recommend it for everyone who is serious about their faith. I have a feeling that if you have a very impersonal relationship with God this book might frustrate and confuse you. The way Brother Lawrence addresses certain topics would have certainly been puzzling to me years ago, but as my faith in God grows my desire to be close to him does as well, through no real action of my own, of course. I loved reading this book, however, and think that it will definitely hav ...more
I have heard about this devotional classic for years yet never read it for myself. I really enjoyed it. Brother Lawrence had many encouraging words and exhortations for the people to which he wrote--and subsequently to us. This man had one focus--GOD.

I have another version of this book, which has a forward by Henri Nouwen. I think I am going to read that version too before I give a full review. Suffice it to say that Brother Lawrence learned to keep his mind focused on God and shares how he lear
This is a little gem recommended by a dear friend (and thank you again) - it's not too long and a quick read, but one that I'm going to keep on my Kindle app for returning to. A snatch of it here and there would be wonderful, and to contemplate what is written.
In a lot of ways, it ties in with Kathleen Norris' writing, in finding God in the daily tasks.
A simple reminder that God is not only the means of our spiritual life and salvation, but the end as well. Brother Lawrence believed that we must practice God's presence, knowing that He is always much nearer than we think (living in the chapel of our heart), and love Him more than the blessings He gives and the comfort He provides.
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Everyday spirituality 6 59 Oct 31, 2013 08:49AM  
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • The Imitation of Christ
  • Interior Castle
  • Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups
  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • Dark Night of the Soul
  • Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel - On Prayer
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society
  • The Spirit of the Disciplines : Understanding How God Changes Lives
  • In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership
  • With Christ in the School of Prayer
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunéville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern day eastern France and as a young man went into the army due to his poverty. At the age of 18 he received what he felt was a revelation of the providence and power of God. He went on to fight in the Thirty Years' War and later served as a valet, but within six years joined the Discalc ...more
More about Brother Lawrence...
The Practice of the Presence of God, and the Spiritual Maxims The Brother Lawrence Collection: Practice and Presence of God, Spiritual Maxims, The Life of Brother Lawrence Spiritual Maxims of Brother Lawrence The Practice of the Presence of God and the Way of Perfection: Nelson's Royal Classic Practicing the Presence of God 2013 Edition

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“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.” 85 likes
“He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.” 41 likes
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