Doug's Reviews > The Practice of the Presence of God In Modern English

The Practice of the Presence of God In Modern English by Marshall Davis
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it was amazing
bookshelves: w-joan

This is a book I had attempted to read a long time ago but never finished. That’s a shame. It is a life-changing book!

The theme is simple, fully encapsulated in the title. The message is consistent with that theme. From a literature standpoint, perhaps it is even monotonous. But from an inspiration standpoint, the book stays faithful to one simple message throughout — we can and should cultivate a continual practice of being in God’s presence. Simple, but not easy.

The book is accredited to Brother Lawrence, a French monk from the 1600’s. It is a compilation of conversations with him, of letters written by him, and of spiritual maxims from him. The version I read on kindle is a modern English translation — which I highly recommend. By the way, he is from the same order as Mother Theresa.

One of the most amazing aspects of this man’s life is the contrast of his influence and renown with his lack of credentials and apparent giftings. He was uneducated (but literate), untrained for ministry, and spent decades serving as a kitchen helper (and later a cobbler). His life was consumed by a practical and earnest pursuit of God, and it seems God allowed that life to influence others as a result.

Brother Lawrence emphasizes practicing God’s presence at all times, including while we are working. In fact, he so believed that the presence of God is for all times of every day, that he seemed to find prayer times and other devotional type activities as interruptions to practicing God’s presence. He put up with those because it was required, but he seemed to be pleased when they were finished so he could go back to normal activity and practicing God’s presence.

One other observation is his simple faith. He was quick to confess something to God. And then he gave the matter no further thought, trusting that God heard and forgave.

While reading I found myself wondering if his message is all fine and dandy for him, being a monk and living a simple, quiet monastery life. But what about for those of us who live "in the real world". So many distractions, business, pressures, responsibilities. But somehow I believe the message is the same for all -- no matter their circumstances. Below are some quotes from the book, and I believe that they should apply to my non-monastic life just as much as they did to Brother Lawrence's life.

“We should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence by continually communing with Him."
“…after praying, he gave it no further thought."
“He resolved to make the love of God the goal of all his actions."
“In order to form a habit of communing with God continually and committing everything we do to Him, we must first make a special effort. After a while we find that His love inwardly inspires us to do all things for Him effortlessly."
“…we ought to relate to God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and impairing His assistance in our affairs as they happen."
“He always enjoyed himself no matter what he was doing because he did everything, even he smallest things, for the love of God."
“He worried about nothing and feared nothing. His only desire is not to offend God."
“When outward busyness diverted him a little from the awareness of God, a fresh remembrance would come from God and consume his soul."
“He said he was more united to God in his outward work, than when he left it for devotion in seclusion."
“Sanctification does no depend upon changing what we do, but in doing for God’s sake what we normally do for our own sake."
“All things are possible to him who believes. They are less difficult to him who hopes. They are easier to him who loves. And they are easiest to him who perseveres in the practice of all three virtues."
“O my God, You are with me, and I must now, in obedience to Your commands, apply my mind to these outward things. I beseech You to grant me the grace to continue in Your presence. This this end I ask that you grant me Your assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my emotions."
“We are to be pitied because we are content with so little. He says that God has infinite treasure to bestow, and yet we are satisfied with a little feeling of religious devotion which passes in a moment. We are blind, and we hinder God and stop the current of His grace….yes we often stop the flood because of the little value we place upon it."
“When God finds a should penetrated with a living faith, He pours into it His grace and blessings plentifully. They flow like a torrent, finding a way around every obstacle spreading out with extravagant and reckless abundance."
“I cannot imagine how religious persons can be satisfied without the practice of the presence of God."
“We can make our heart a chapel where we can withdraw from time to time, and commune with Him in meekness, humility and love."
“When we are with Him, even sufferings will be sweet and pleasant to us. Without Him even the greatest pleasure will seem like cruel punishments."
“I advise you not to use a lot of words in prayer."
“Let us remember that our only purpose in life is to please God."
“When our minds are focused on God, suffering will be filled with peace and solace."
“May all our energy be devoted to knowing God. The more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him."
“We are to practice honoring God and His glory in everything we do and say. This is our goal: to offer to God a sacrifice of perfect worship in this life and throughout eternity."
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Reading Progress

November 9, 2015 – Started Reading
November 9, 2015 – Shelved
November 24, 2015 –
50.0%
December 4, 2015 – Finished Reading
October 11, 2016 – Shelved as: w-joan

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