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April 9, 2018 Concluding another official read of this book, although whether it be the fifth, sixth or , who can say In any event, this will never be a closed book on my shelf, mostly because I want to be practicing the presence of God always Guardian Angel help me The weekly reflections from the French and Austrian Carmelites were a wonderful supplement to the text to be kept alongside the book for the next read Scroll down for original review February 27, 2018 Listened to the audio version again today Listening is the easy part Remembering to bring Him into every moment is the constant struggle That is why it is so good to keep returning and rereading this book February 14, 2018 Began Lenten journey with the French and Austrian Carmelites, reflecting along with Brother Lawrence in his practicing the presence of God Doing the retreat on line, for free here here Weekly reflections are emailed every Friday throughout Lent The book itself can also be read on line or downloaded to your kindle or computer for free There are also expensive versions available with various additional options I am using this version mostly, but also a simplified kindle and an audio version ORIGINAL REVIEW The Practice of the Presence of God is a little gem But it is also a book you have to be receptive to appreciate Without this requisite receptivity, its pearls of wisdom would be wasted But with the right frame of mind and heart, it is the perfect book.Perfect in that while it can be read in one hour mastery of its central concept requires a lifetime Well, at least for this soul and a very long lifetime at that And I write that without the least trace of humility, remorse or even chagrin as a simple statement of fact Indeed, growth in virtue does require total commitment and extended preparation time I m on at least my seventh reading of this book and each has been a sincere attempt to take in the saint s simple way of constantly living in God s Holy Presence I just pray I ve made some progress Our humble author, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, assures us that his own journey along this path toward practicing the presence of God took him many years as well So, despair should not deter one s efforts.I like that the word practice is used in the title, and indeed throughout the book, because it recognizes the fallibility in human nature We will have to creep, crawl, stumble and fall many times in this effort before we will ever be able to actually walk in God s presence That is Brother Lawrence s goal and presumably the goal of any self professed Christian to actually walk hand in hand with Our LORD In the meantime, He carries us.Brother Lawrence and his solitary legacy bear much in common with Father De Caussade and his work, Abandonment to Divine Providence Both men were post Reformation, French religious, from rather obscure backgrounds, who left us one primary work of spiritual insight comprised of meditations and letters collected postmortem Few hard facts can be substantiated about either man even such basic information as definitive dates of birth and death, although we do know approximate dates Both were extremely humble men who preferentially would have lived quiet lives far away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of society but they were not given that chance God s will was to call these two holy men out from their peaceful solitude to minister to their neighbors.Brother Lawrence lived and worked most of his life at the monastery of the Discalced Carmelites on the Rue de Vaugirard in Paris, where he spent many years working in the kitchen He died in 1691 at around 80 years of age A year later his Abbot collected what could be found from Brother Lawrence s letters, spiritual writings and recorded conversations, put them together and this comprises what we know today as The Practice of the Presence of God.Unfortunately, upon publication, Practice became associated with the controversy of the day, the heresy then causing so much bitter debate, Quietism Although it is beyond the scope of this review and the abilities of this writer to discuss the theological aspects of Quietism, it is important to understand that one tenet of this heresy bore a similarity to Brother Lawrence s principle theses, complete abandonment to the will of God, and therefore was used by advocates of the Quietist heresy to justify their position As it would be some years before this struggle could be resolved, especially in France, Practice suffered the taint of guilt by association albeit a slim association at best and fell into disfavor in the country of its birth Fortunately for us, our book was picked up by other Christian denominations and carried to other countries where it has spread around the world Since its initial printing, Practice has been always been available in one form or another and now can even be found in many versions on line.The first section of the book consists of four dated conversations where Brother Lawrence describes what it is that led him to the realization that pursuing the Practice of the Presence of God was the best way, indeed the only way, to follow Christ These are not conversations as most Americans today would categorize conversations, but like Shakespearean soliloquies, with the little monk giving his thoughts on how he came to know that putting God first, last, and always, was the only way to live That is Practice in a nutshell I could stop writing here and you would have the book Except that as simple as it is write or say such words, anyone who has really tried to live them knows, it is not that easy.In the next section of the book, we are given sixteen of Brother Lawrence s letters mostly written to a nun, but also one to a priest and several to a lay woman All of these further elucidate how one is to advance along the path toward our ultimate goal, full and total communion with God The book concludes with a group of Brother Lawrence s maxims.What Brother Lawrence teaches through Practice is that no matter where we are, or what we are doing, we can and should be in God s presence at all times But how to achieve this state, you may well ask Although he answers this question in many different ways throughout the book, probably the most clear cut answer lies here Having found different methods of going to God and different practices to attain the spiritual life in several books, I decided that they would serve to hinder than to facilitate in me what I was seeking which was nothing other than a means to be wholly God s This made me decide to give all to gain all so after having given all to God in satisfaction for my sins, I began to live as if there were no one in the world but Him and me p73 On the surface, such an approach sounds very simplistic, or even selfish However, the same day I read those words of Brother Lawrence, I read almost the exact same idea expressed by another Carmelite from 200 years earlier In describing the transforming union that a soul undergoes when it finally achieves oneness with God, St John of the Cross writes, And here lies the remarkable delight of this awakening the soul knows creatures through God and not God through creatures p189, Fire Within, Thomas Dubay, S.M Indeed the life of Brother Lawrence is testimony to his writings his single minded concern for God, far from leading him away from love of people, brought him closer to them Only through a greater love of God, can we ever hope for a fuller love of all of His creation.My first recorded acquaintance with Practice was May of 2004 at least according to the little bookmark card maintained inside the front cover of my ragged paperback copy Recently I read and listened to the book again I wish I could say that reading Practice was enough, or even writing about it But they aren t It takes much than that Nevertheless, I shall continue to do both, because I see great wisdom in this little book and at least reading it keeps the idea foremost in my mind I must know, love and serve God in this world that I may gain the happiness of heaven Balti Catechism But even than that, to be happy in this life, Brother Lawrence tells us is only possible with God as our one and only purpose, end and goal. One of the best books I ever read I can hardly believe it was written by a virtually unknown kitchen monk from like a billion years ago Seriously useful advice on exactly how to stay connected with God in constant communion Not a bit sentimental Nothing vain or extraneous Nothing obtuse Clear, solid advice A real treasure i ll never part with this book I may just buy copies for everyone s Christmas this year. wonderful book every christian should read this this book will make you hungry for the presence of God This is the best edition of it available at Actually, this is of an author review as I don t take issue with the content of the book, which is highly reccomended, but rather the inconsistent lifestyle of the author.Here it is Coram Deo to live before the face of God best sums up the message of Brother Lawrence That even the most mundane tasks can be taken up with glorying in the Lord Jesus.This is one of those places however where we ought to heed the words of Jesus concerning the Pharisees, do what they say but not what they do which highlights the great oversight of brother Lawrence.What I expected from this book was an account of the faith of a hardworking Christian man in the midst of his daily labors, what I got was a man who was disappointed by how satisfying life in the monastery was and who expected future suffering purgatory to make up for his carefree life as a monk This was a man who did not truly believe in the sufficiency of Christ s suffering on his behalf Thinking he had to make up the difference somehow, such was the mindset of the monks It s alot easier to be taken up with spiritual ecstasies when you have no real responsibilities in the world.As a Christian husband and father of one and another on the way , I am moved by the practical principles for religious devotion to Christ that are laid out in this book, but I do wish that they were not hypocritically represented by a clergyman who divorced himself entirely from life amongst lay people It sets a terrible precedent when Jesus said, no one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light Luke 11 33.Brother Lawrence said he was convinced that in the kitchen he could possess God in as great tranquility as if upon his knees at the blessed sacrament and yet he remained a reclusive monk primarily and not instead a cook He chose to flee the world under pretense of devoting his life to God and yet as a monk, in a very unChristlike fashion, he would not live and eat amongst sinners in order to reveal Christ to them.In practice he maintained the essentially Gnostic dichotomy between the material world as evil and the spiritual as good, rather than living out his ideal of serving God in everyday occupations like washing dishes and serving food, he chose the supposed higher path of the monk If brother Lawrence wanted to convey his ideas with integrity he ought to have left the monastery and sought out honorable employment amongst the populus in order to be a missionary to them By not doing this he has lead people by example into a hyper spirituality that is so heavenly minded its no earthly good.There is no doubt that this man was devoted to loving God, but it is doubtful that he was much devoted to loving people the way Jesus did Christ calls his disciples to be people who are ready to live godly lives in front of others as before the face of God.There are some great words to be found in this book concerning prayer and devotion, yet if you seek to truly walk as Jesus did please do not imitate the authors way of life. The major barrier to this book is the slightly stilted language I have recommended this to several people and they cannot get past this, essentially missing the book s message If nothing else this makes me understand why the King James Bible remains obtuse for many.Brother Lawrence isn t a famous man and he didn t do anything that should make us place him on a pedestal in the social historical scheme of things However, what this man brings to understanding God on a daily basis, in real life which each of us can understand, is nothing short of miraculous Brother Lawrence involves God in all his daily affairs, not in some odd or curious way, but in a very natural way he treats the Lord as one sitting with him in the kitchen where he works.This little book is one which can be, I have found, life changing As my friend from Tennessee often says, reading it is like being hit upside the head with a tire iron I think this phrase is incredibly apt because Brother Lawrence s solution to losing track of God in our daily life is simply to invoke him in all parts of one s daily life In essence, this little tract is the epitome of simplicity which we often bypass by our bombast and rhetoric about situations Those wishing to come back to God in a very personal way without making all sorts of noise and commotion would do well to read this book I find that I must come back to it every so often because it is so easy to veer away from the simplicity it uses so effectively. I read this many years ago I think , but just now listened to it on Audible Enjoyed it he has a good functional grasp of grace, even though his theology of it was a little muddy. Many have heard of Brother Lawrence s quote about peeling potatoes to the glory of God This book is a collection of his letters dealing with the topic of practicing God s presence.This is a short but profoundly meditative read Good stuff for mothers in a hurry who want to ponder a connection with God in the midst of busy days also palatable for people going through a hard time to read little bits at a time and absorb them without charging through Brother Lawrence didn t intend to write a book, and some concepts are a bit disjointed But, he is consistent enough in his perspective and approach that the same themes work throughout his pastoral correspondence.I found his ideas to be challenging Too often, I can emphasize service to God over relationship with God Brother Lawrence s goal to focus on developing a conscious awareness of God s presence, to live and interact with His presence such that his relationship with God was the strongest experience of his life is a worthy goal Since I first read it, I feel I ve made progress, but it does tend to drop off the radar as life goes on and a good refresher is always welcome As a result, I ve read it a few times and anticipate reading it several times before I meet him in heaven Update For those seeking practical direction on HOW to implement these principles in the Christian life, I also recommend We Would See Jesus by Roy Revel Hession, published 1958.https www.goodreads.com review show &EBOOK ↛ The Practice of the Presence of God ☙ Brother Lawrence Was A Man Of Humble Beginnings Who Discovered The Greatest Secret Of Living In The Kingdom Of God Here On Earth It Is The Art Of Practicing The Presence Of God In One Single Act That Does Not End He Often Stated That It Is God Who Paints Himself In The Depths Of Our Souls We Must Merely Open Our Hearts To Receive Him And His Loving Presence As A Humble Cook, Brother Lawrence Learned An Important Lesson Through Each Daily Chore The Time He Spent In Communion With The Lord Should Be The Same, Whether He Was Bustling Around In The Kitchen With Several People Asking Questions At The Same Time Or On His Knees In Prayer He Learned To Cultivate The Deep Presence Of God So Thoroughly In His Own Heart That He Was Able To Joyfully Exclaim, I Am Doing Now What I Will Do For All Eternity I Am Blessing God, Praising Him, Adoring Him, And Loving Him With All My Heart This Unparalleled Classic Has Given Both Blessing And Instruction To Those Who Can Be Content With Nothing Less Than Knowing God In All His Majesty And Feeling His Loving Presence Throughout Each Simple Day In a world of constant distraction, Brother Lawrence has much to teach us about offering every moment of our waking existence to a deliberate awareness of God s gracious and intimate presence, whether we re writing a sermon or working in the kitchen One must discipline himself to be mindful of God s constant and immediate accessibility The result is a life of peace and joy, even in the face of a painful death.At the same time, I found myself troubled by at least three things 1 On several occasions, Lawrence mentions the need to make satisfaction for his sins Maybe he means something different than I realize, but if he means what I think he means, I have to wonder if the man even understands the gospel 2 I don t think Lawrence refers to Scripture even one time in this whole book 3 Lawrence seems to value a kind of mystical detachment from the present world, as if there is something super spiritual about ignoring the world around us Lots of good meat in this book, but don t be afraid to spit out the bones just because it is regarded as such a classic. While there is certainly a truism presented in this book, and though I appreciated much in it, I believe it is faulty in that it encourages a mystical view of God and the practice of contemplative prayer Brother Lawrence is listed here as an author than endorses contemplative prayer in this article entitled, The Top 50 Christian Contemplative Books A NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List info on contemplative prayer, visit