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Practicing The Presence

I have long been inspired by Brother Lawrence, the 17th-century monk whose writings, compiled in The Practice of the Presence of God, demonstrate the kind of joyous living that is possible if we cultivate a posture of attentiveness to God’s companionship and direction in our everyday activities. Though he was never considered an important person during his lifetime, Lawrence encountered Christ’s real presence throughout the day, in tasks as mundane as washing the dishes.

In my own life, I have experienced periods when God’s presence has been intensely palpable. At times, the Holy Spirit has seemed just as tangibly real as any other person in my life – yes, and somehow realer! Then again, there have been other times when I have not experienced God as present at all, no matter how good my conscious intentions. Most of my life is spent in the space between these two extremes. In general, my awareness of Christ’s presence seems related to my moment-by-moment choice to stay attentive to his still, small voice.

Some days are more challenging than others. I often wake up with half a dozen projects buzzing in my head. My mind flits from task to task, fixated on due dates and the steps between the present moment and the future that I am working for. Yet almost always, if I choose to pay attention, I can hear a voice inviting me deeper. Paying attention to my breath, practicing awareness of my body and my surroundings, God reveals an open space where I can rest in him.

It always amazes me how life simply falls into place when I do choose to accept the invitation to rest in his green pastures. Worries fade, stress falls away, and deadlines somehow still get met – the ones that really needed to get met, anyway. This is the power of Christ’s easy yoke, when I yield to it.

  • How have you experienced Christ’s presence breaking into the midst of your daily routines?
  • Where does the Holy Spirit create space for rest, genuine depth and power in your life?
  • Are there ways that you could choose to become more intentional in practicing of the presence of God?