As we have been pursuing the vision of learning to “be disciples”, several of you have asked me to recommend some books or websites that have provided fuel for me personally as I seek to cultivate a fresh and vibrant walk with Jesus. So over the next couple months I’ll run through a top ten, ish (and in no particular order), so here we go…A Top Ten tool for me…
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
How would you feel if you were assigned the full-time, lifelong job of dish duty? That’s what happened to a 17th century monk named Brother Lawrence, who decided to take this mundanest of tasks (do you have any of those?) and turn it into the chance to go deep with God. Over the years he developed “a habitual, silent, secret conversation with God” to the result of a soul at rest who could joyfully proclaim, “there is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God.” Remember, that joy is in the midst of washes dishes most of the day, every day! There is even one place in the book when he says that his times of experiencing God’s presence while doing dishes were just as powerful (and sometimes more) as any worship service he would attend!
Brother Lawrence blew the walls off the little cage I had put God in. I guess I would have said (at the time of first reading) that I believed that experiencing God outside of special worship services and retreats and other “spiritual” stuff was possible, but I certainly wasn’t living an everyday life of regular communion in his presence. But my soul was thirsty for that kind of relationship and Brother Lawrence became a teacher who showed me how to do it. The book is very honest and practical and essentially he walks you through the journey of learning how to cultivate this kind of relationship with God.
I was also really intrigued and impressed that Brother Lawrence’s experience of God’s presence was happening in the midst of doing dishes. I don’t mind doing dishes, sometimes, but the reality is much of our life is spent doing mundane and routine things dishes, bills, chores, diapers, meetings, errands, some of which sound impossible to find God in. So this book grew the longing in me “how awesome would that be if the experience of God’s presence could go on throughout the week and invade all of those everyday tasks that take up so much of our existence!”
This book is about one man’s journey of exactly that. It was a huge blessing to me and has formed part of my core understanding of how God wants to be in relationship with me. And Brother Lawrence was right, God’s presence can and is experienced in the routine of life as much as the set apart “spiritual times,” if we have our radar on, because in reality, all of life is intended by God to be “spiritual.” Enjoy.
Just a heads up for those of you who do read it, I found the “letters” section to be much more powerful than the “conversations” section.
There are tons of versions out there (they keep getting updated into the most modern English), some really cheap, others not so much:
or you can get a free ebook here:
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