#8 – The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (My 100 Favorite Books)

I remember finishing this book and then immediately starting it again.  Its short and I may have read it twice in one day (its only 68 pages).  But its SO GOOD.

Imagine you work next to a person in some mundane occupation for decades.  Then all of a sudden you discover you have been standing alongside a intellectual genius or spiritual guru and did not know it.  That is sort of what it was like for Brother Lawrence’s fellow monks.  He worked in the kitchens and wasn’t the most noticeable person.  When he died and this book was discovered, everyone realized that quiet hard-working man was a saint in the best sense of the word.

This book is especially helpful for people today seeking to integrate their daily life with active spirituality.  Brother Lawrence is not philosophizing on prayer or writing as someone who sat around and meditated all day.  He writes and reflects on spirituality from a place of daily, physical labor.  He’s someone we can all relate to.

Here is just one of many brilliant passages on prayer:

I do not advise you to use multiplicity of words in prayer. Many words and long discourses are often the occasions of wandering. Hold yourself in prayer before God, like a dumb or paralytic beggar at a rich man’s gate. Let it be your business to keep your mind in the presence of the Lord. If your mind sometimes wanders and withdraws itself from Him, do not become upset. Trouble and disquiet serve rather to distract the mind than to re-collect it. The will must bring it back in tranquillity. If you persevere in this manner, God will have pity on you.



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