Practicing The Presence of God Like Brother Lawrence Can be Achieved By Any of Us
He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake him, He will forsake you”. 2 Chronicles 15:2
It is imperative that we learn to “Practice the Presence of God.”
The Word of God made a promise to us here: “Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will always help thee, I will always uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” Isaiah 41:10
God also has promised you and me in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” If you are a true Christian, one with the Spirit of God, then this is a promise you can bank on. So, are you aware of His daily presence in your life? Sadly, few of us are and too many of us do not make it a priority to answer to His grace and seek His presence on a daily basis. Most of us do not know that God’s presence can be a part of our daily lives.
How can I practice God’s presence?
I was completely ignorant of the importance of practicing the presence of God. But, I finally learned and experienced it through using this Little book “practicing the presence of God by Brother Lawrence.” I will give you a summary of the steps that I followed until this practice became real and had been automated in me by the Spirit of God. I had to keep at it for about two years through practice, determination, and discipline until one day, I realized, through His grace, this practice of His presence had become a reality in my life without forcing it. Of course it does not hurt that I was already in the wilderness with God, already made a full surrender to Him and I was also reading the Word of God, continually.
You must “Will” your heart to desire it just because it is pleasing to God first and foremost. If this first step becomes your priority, then you can be sure that you have the Spirit of God in you because without Him, we see this little book as a ‘Good read’ but we are not interested in going further. If anything, reading this little book without putting it into action in your life will simply be a recipe for frustration and disappointment. Once you read it, make it a point to ask the Spirit of God to “WILL” you to want to seek Him diligently and come up closer.
So, as you apply yourself to learn to practice His presence, rest assured that in this time of grace, His anticipating presence will mean so much more. Remember He is not only with us, He is also within us: “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells in you, and will be in you” (John 14:17). Don’t allow yourself to doubt that the practice of His presence cannot be yours too. Understand and be convinced of it that the Holy Spirit dwells within the mortal body of the believer. He is as real as you and me, and He is alive: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Just as the Hebrews referred to the most holy place, where the ark of the covenant was kept, where the manifested presence of God dwelt, in the present, God dwells within the believer. This is a truth established in the Word of God. This is the beauty, and the secret of the soul who knows Him. This is the whole gospel of God “getting us to worship from the Holy of Holies”. Can you understand inwardly the significance of the thorn veil in Matthew 27:51? Can you grasp the privilege we have received through Christ?
Respond to this truth of the practice of His presence with faith, obedience, and love and with the right attitude that is conducive to the true Christian way of life, Christ’s attitude. Even in the midst of the most minute details, live to honour Him and obey His commandments. Accept that He is the Lord of your life not just your savior. Keep this daily attitude and disposition toward Him even when you feel nothing physically or mentally. That is where we need to exercise faith, trust and perseverance in Him. It is not about a feeling or an emotion, it’s about believing God’s truth or not believing, the choice is yours. “Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
“Awaken my spirit
Active in me
What you designed
Take me deeper
I want to know your heart
Take me deeper
I want to immerse myself in you”
“In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” John 14:20
In this world, it is not easy to be truly convinced and live out the fact that we are God’s temple and that His Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us when we received Him. With most of us, it’s an assumption. But once we submit to His “will” and make the decision to obey His word, we are able to understand how necessary it is to change our ways, and also learn to meditate daily on His Word. So, practicing the presence of God like Brother Lawrence, is just taking it one step further into this relationship with Him. Since it requires a little bit of discipline, think of it as if you are learning to know better and deeper someone you love. The reality is the gospel of God is an invitation to fall in love with Him. It is about learning to live a love affair with God and engage His heart. It is about a Bride and Christ the Groom.
We must learn to create an environment for God’s presence wherever we are and no matter what we are doing.
Just in case you feel this is too much work and you are tempted to remain inactive and convince yourself with something as easy as “let go and let God” read this: “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” (Proverbs 8:17). Again we are told “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8) The key words here is that Peter told us to
“Make every effort to add to what we have already received”.
So, we know that God dwells in the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3). Worshiping God is an attitude, a disposition, and a lifestyle. While the Holy Spirit is the only one who can work out things inwardly for us, but God expects us to want to do what it takes to learn to worship Him and practice His presence. God also understands that we will not be perfect at it. But He will always “honor those who honor Him “(1Samuel 2:30) and if anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26) Because of these promises, we can be assured that if we stumble during the time we are learning to practice the presence of God, He will be there to pick us up. I can recall having forgotten to practice the presence of God for at least three weeks because life took over. One day I woke up and realized that I forgot my commitment to God. This moment of clarity happened when I was washing dishes. I was disappointed. But, right then and there, I continued talking to Him and purposely set out to practice His presence. Basically, I picked up where I left off.
True worship has to do with a total surrender to God while yielding to His will, His grace, His word and His mercy on a daily basis. A true worshiper is one who gives his whole being, his life, and his time to God. It is one who learns to live this life moment by moment. But of course, it takes time and practice. So, trust Him to get you there. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father also seeks such worshipers to worship him. God is a Spirit; and those who worship him in spirit and in truth must worship him” (John 4:23).
In time you will find true worship is a full-time job and a sacrificial life. It requires that we continually push ourselves and be present in the moment to practice a continuous communion with God in prayer, and biblical meditation. This happens not because the Spirit of God has left us, but we move away from Him through our tedious life. When we glorify God in our daily living at every moment, He will take care of every details. Our relationship with our family changes. Our interactions with friends and neighbors will also change. Since I was already living the surrendered life, to me, worshiping God was to follow in the footsteps of Brother Lawrence where I started by applying simple things like purposely praying all day long. My prayers and moments of adoration were created to force me to think about Him constantly. They were mainly one liner. Simple things while doing chores I would say things like:
“teach me how to love you Lord, teach me how to worship you!”
Teach me how to live for you!”
“Lord I give you my life, shed your light within, make me and change me!”
“Teach me how to abandon myself into your hands!”
Teach me how to love you with all my heart, mind, soul and spirit!”
Teach me how to engage your heart because you are worthy of all my devotion!”
I even trained myself to talk with Him constantly even when I go to the grocery store. On my way there, I bring Him in the forefront. While I am there, I would do the same thing.
“Change me to your likeness!”
“Help me forsake all that cause me to walk away from you!”
“Permeate my life with your love and teach me how to serve you like Christ did!”
“I praise you Lord because you love me even before I was aware of my need for you!”
“I thank you Lord for your relentless love!”
“Teach me how to know and love you!”
“Teach me how to draw closer to you!”
“Teach me how to cultivate your presence and to maintain it in my heart!”
“Teach my heart how to abide in you!”
“Teach my foolish heart how to adore you!”
“Teach me how to position myself to walk in spirit through your grace!”
“Teach me how to glorify you my Lord and Savior!”
“Give me a humble heart and teach me how to depend on you!”
“reveal yourself to my soul and make yourself a reality in me!”
God honors his Word.
Christ Word is alive, powerful, and anointed to bring about spiritual transformation. We can ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we read, study, and pray according to God’s Word. We need to discipline ourselves to make a place for Him in our heart, mind, and spirit first and foremost before we worry about a physical place to honor and enjoy His daily presence.
We must learn to not only invite Him, cooperate and partner with Him, but seeing Him with us in everything we do and wherever we are. When we live with the awareness of Him in our soul, on a daily basis, we experience a peace that surpasses all understanding, and an inexplicable joy in our spirit. Worries and fears will have no place in our mind. We will see and live out how God maximizes the way we enjoy the spiritual life we have in Him. “And the Lord goes before you, He will be with you, He will not leave you or forsake you; do not be afraid or dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
“Empty me, that You may fill me,
Without power, outside of the one You give me
With kindness, along with every commandment…
Jesus, filled me with Your Spirit.
Let my heart know the meaning of a total surrender;
Let the rivers of living water
Run from my innermost.
Let Your power flows through me
Use me as a clean vessel
Every day and every hour”.
More Steps to Learn to Practice the Presence of God.
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” Galatians 2:20.
Christians often feel like they are changing to another world when they go to work. They get carried away by the worries, stress, and pressure from their bosses and co-workers. So, ask yourself if there is a way to help you connect your work environment with worshiping and loving God?
1: Pray during breaks.
Praying at all times and in all places, even when we are going through difficult times or stressful situations in our work environment, is one of the best things for we can do. Jesus said to his disciples, “‘It is impossible for stumbling blocks not to come, but woe to the one through whom they come”. (Luke 17:1).
Even when we have our morning prayer before we start the day, it is common to fall into sin either by an unwanted call, a bad conversation or just by perceiving the character and gestures of our boss or a co-worker. While we have been redeemed, but we still sin, so, our identity in Him is still fragile therefore we struggle constantly: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Colossians 3:13).
When we pray without ceasing and we practice His presence in all that we do, just for the sake of adoring Him, we stop the chorus of doubt, self-centeredness, envy and slander. It also helps to remind us of who we are and who we belong to. We are children of God, and our Master is the Captain of our Salvation. Try setting up an alarm as a reminder. Use your cell phone perhaps to remind you to pray. Do it for three weeks or more until it becomes a habit. For me, when I wanted to practice the presence of God at work, I made a note right beside my keyboard to remind me to give Him praises and call up His name every hour.
2: Avoid distractions.
If it is at all possible, avoid distractions. We live in a distracted world and it is easy to lose focus on the lover or our soul. But remember we must find ways to worship and adore Him in the chaos. Personally, it was so difficult for me at time when I was at work that I had to make extra effort to remove myself, mentally, for less than a minute on the hour to think about Him. But look at Colossians 3: 23-24 and you will see it is self-explanatory. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
A distraction, however small, takes us away from loving Him and easily moves us into our comfort zone and into numbness. Love of God and neighbor become difficult when we are numbed by the distractions and worries. I also recommend that you only log into Social Media when you need to and try to avoid using SM just because you are bored. Be careful with the content you post and the time you spend surfing, because a restless thumb often reflects who you truly are and where your priorities lie.
“I ask you to take me deep
To your realities on this day
Take me so deep into your heart
Where I can hear you
Hear the words you sang when you formed me.
Let me hear your voice
And the depth of your heart.
Speak, loving God, I am listening
Abide deep into me
And let me abide in your depth.
Let me love what you love, Lord
Show me how to be like Christ.”
“But you do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him” Romans 8:9.
The true test of the character and spiritual life of a person is not what he does in extraordinary moments, but what he does daily and moment by moment. Observe yourself moment by moment and pay attention to what you are thinking, and what you are doing at all time whether at work, at home, with friends, or even when you are alone. This exercise will help you discover who you truly are and what you are made of inwardly.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
3: Reflect God in everything you speak.
You don’t have to be a good speaker to talk about your Christian life to others. We have an opportunity to reflect God in everything we do and say no matter where we are. We are also His ambassadors and we must take this job to heart. In fact, through my training as a soldier of the King, I learn that I should never rest or retire because the enemy does not. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and he who loves it will eat of its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). As soldiers of the King, everything we do and say matter. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).
Through the practice you will find that God will take over your life and will also catapult your sanctification process forward. Learn to rest in the Lord. Remember that God is with you at work and wherever you are. So, take advantage of every moment to be in touch with the Lord your God.
“I surrender everything to You
In order to know you
I yield everything,
You are my only desire
To you, I surrender my all,
In order to know you more”.