The Practice of the Presence of God

Dear Friends in Christ -

The summer months are prime reading time! Our less hectic schedules allow us to slow down and read something that renews us and gives us new perspective. With all that is going on in the world these days, most of us could use a little centering and perspective.

I picked up reading early in my life from my mother. To this day she devours books. As a full-time working person I can't match her pace, but I still try to read as often as I can. My mother burns a lane in particular fiction genres. I think she's read every contemporary crime suspense and modern western set to print. I tend to travel down diverse avenues in my reading, a crime novel here, a non-fiction history there, a Christian faith primer way over there. I generally have three or more books I'm reading simultaneously at any given moment. And, of course, I was warned that the ministry is a reading profession. It's a good thing I love reading.

Despite my diverse sampling, there are certain books that stand out and have made profound impact on my life. Beyond mere entertainment, some writers and their books have been my spiritual directors.

When I was in graduate school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, I studied for a master's degree in Christian spiritual formation in a Roman Catholic environment. As a part of my curriculum, I was introduced to a timeless classic of Christian spirituality. It was written by a lay person named Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Lawrence was an everyday lay person in Paris who affiliated himself with a Carmelite monastery as a lay religious devout disciple.

Christians commonly remember him for the intimacy he expressed concerning his relationship to God as recorded in a book compiled after his death known as The Practice of the Presence of God. This book is a primer on how to live in faith while performing the most mundane tasks, Brother Lawrence demonstrates in this short work the importance of paying attention in every moment of life to the intimate presence of God in, under and with every aspect of common life, even those parts that we deem insignificant.
Recently, Alan Vermilye took Brother Lawrence's little book and broke it down into forty digestible readings that can be used for a 40-day self-guided spiritual renewal program. The book is available on Amazon for very little money - its free if you have Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Each reading provides a call to centering and renewal in our relationship with God.

If you are looking for renewal this summer, I recommend The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence with Alan Vermilye. We are at the beginning of a new season of recreation and renewal. Why not make spiritual renewal a part of your recreation this summer. Take Brother Lawrence with you and find a closer walk with God everyday.


Pastor Frank

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