You Are Not Alone

Today I am thinking about the privilege and joy of living in the presence of God.  I don’t say that in a light, "churchy" sort of way.  I really mean this.  To live with a sense of his presence not only provokes worship but creates a sense of direction in a world where there is so much noise.  When I am aware of his presence, I find that I live with a sense of divine purpose.

At times I feel completely overwhelmed by what is taking place in my life.  Usually it is not any one thing but one thing stacked on top of the other, on top of the other, etc.  At times, I feel nervous and anxious about the future.  Usually, it has to do with the unknown.  Sometimes, I feel discouraged about the present.  This happens when I feel severely let down or have experienced a loss of some kind.  Needless to say, I have to be reminded again and again of God’s forever presence.

I like these words by Richard Foster:

Think of the number of people who have been encouraged in this way by the simple writings and profound life of Brother Lawrence.  How vastly enriched we are that he was finally persuaded, almost against his will, to write down how he had learned, The Practice of the Presence of God.  His famous words still throb with life and joy.  "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees as the blessed sacrament."  Every thought, every decision, every action stemmed from the divine Root.  A simple kitchen monk, who meekly referred to himself as the "lord of all pots and pans," found it to be possible. We can too!

But we fool ourselves if we think that such a sacramental way of living is automatic.  This kind of living communion does not just fall on our heads.  We must desire it and seek it out.  Like the deer that pants for the flowing stream, so we thirst for the living Spring.  We must order our lives in particular ways.  We must take up a consciously chosen course of action that will draw us more deeply into perpetual communion with the Father.

I have discovered one delightful means to this end to be prayer experiments that open us to God’s presence every waking moment.  The idea is extraordinarily simple.  Seek to discover as many ways as possible to keep God constantly in mind.  "There is nothing new in that," you may say.  "That practice is very ancient and very orthodox."  Exactly!  This desire to practice the presence of God is the secret of all the saints.

(Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity)

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2 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone

  1. Great writing here!  I got on to Brother Lawrence a while back.  I’m working on a half day prayer retreat for a Spiritual Disciplines group incorporating these ideas and would appreciate any references you might have.  I’m not good at extended times of prayer but would like to experience something of close union with God as expressed by Brother Lawrence.