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The Practice of the Presence of God

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  34,404 ratings  ·  997 reviews
Nicholas Herman (c. 1605-1691) was born in Lorraine, France and served as a cook and shoe repairer at a Carmelite monastery. He was only a lay member of the order, and walked with a limp from injuries incurred as a soldier, yet his private thoughts provide a wellspring of devotional insight and refreshment.
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Bill Kerwin
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It is truly fitting and proper—somewhat ironic too—that the author of the shortest, sweetest, and perhaps the most useful guide to prayer and union with God was written by a Catholic who never became a saint, never became a priest, and worked almost his entire life in the kitchen.

Nicholas Herman grew up amid the violence and upheavals of The Thirty Years War, and, being a poor peasant, he joined the army in order to eat and survive. One winter, while still a soldier, he happened to gaze upon the
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brother Lawrence was a simple man. But he was happy.

Supremely happy, he said, for he had reached the summation of his Life’s Quest.

Now, Aquinas said the pinnacle of all our spiritual experiences is to See God. Did Brother Lawrence achieve that height?

Well, I believe so.

Just because he was POOR IN SPIRIT...

It all started when he was eighteen. As an uneducated soldier in the Thirty Years War, he, Nicolas Herman - as he was then called - saw a barren tree in a wintry field and suddenly grasped its
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone serious about the spiritual life
April 9, 2018: Concluding another official read of this book, although whether it be the fifth, sixth or more, who can say? In any event, this will never be a closed book on my shelf, mostly because I want to be ‘practicing the presence of God’ always. Guardian Angel help me.

The weekly reflections from the French and Austrian Carmelites were a wonderful supplement to the text to be kept alongside the book for the next read. (Scroll down for original review.)

February 27, 2018: Listened to the
Shaun Lyon
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wonderful book. every christian should read this! this book will make you more hungry for the presence of God! This is the best edition of it available at Amazon:
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
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers
Recommended to Leslie by: My gaurdian angel?
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.
Douglas Wilson
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I read this many years ago (I think), but just now listened to it on Audible. Enjoyed it -- he has a good functional grasp of grace, even though his theology of it was a little muddy.
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
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
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
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
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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:
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
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
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, christian
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
Healing Trauma, Living in (The) Presence

This would be a five star book for the right person at the right time, I was just not that person or perhaps it was not the right time. Or was it?

I bought the scholarly Critical Edition, replete with supplemental materials (definitely the five-star edition of this book) and committed to reading a bit each day with the encouragement of my GR friend “Booklady,” a secular Carmelite. Surprisingly, Brother Lawrence’s actual text is only about four pages long,
Skylar Burris
This is a collection of letters from Brother Lawrence primarily about how he obtained closeness to God through the “practice of the presence of God.” It begins with a narrative introduction about Brother Lawrence, incorporating some information from “interviews” (more like conversations) with him. There were some real gems in here that struck me, and I admire Brother Lawrence’s high spirituality, but I also found it difficult to relate to in some ways. “It is, however, proper to deprive [the ...more
Rick Davis
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bible-theology
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
Mike E.
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."

Will Thomas
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Natalie Weber
Oct 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
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 ...more
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Catholic man who loved Jesus with all his heart. Even Protestants covet this book in our time. Since I'm a Calvinist, I'm one of them.

This devotee finds God in mundane tasks, like washing dishes. Read in 1999.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple, powerful. If one used this philosophic, spiritual path Love would be in mind consistently, constantly. Alas, the distractions of the illusory world just keep showing up and off I go again. But still, his Wisdom remains true and also in my holy mind. A very important read.
Ben Larson
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For such a short book it sums up so clearly the way we should practice abiding and remaining in Christ. Such a great book!
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jesus
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
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian_life, short
“God alone is capable of making Himself known as he really is; we search in reasoning and in the sciences, as in a poor copy, for what we neglect to see in an excellent original.”

That also may be said of modern Christians trying to communicate the path of love and faith. This classic of faith has inspired Christians and non-Christians for over three hundred years.

This particular edition is “updated for clarity and readability.” It succeeds. I have read older translations which failed to convey
Rick Sam
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
After reading the Ignatian spirituality, I am amazed to see that this book lined up with the same message, "The Presence of God."

The more I get close with Christ, the deeper I see my wickedness.
I think, the message which this book taught me was that during tough times, I would to ask God to love him more than ever. The struggle would be real, but to love him during that time? Not easy

We are created to love him, every moment, at times we wander off. It is our duty to love him with all our
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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 ...more
“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.” 157 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.” 92 likes
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