Here is a thought worthy to ponder, and a discipline worthy to practice, excerpted from Dallas Willard‘s The Great Omission:
Our part in practicing the presence of God is to direct and redirect our minds constantly to him. In the early times of our practicing, we may well be challenged by our burdensome habits of dwelling on things less than God. But these are habits – not the Law of Gravity – and can be broken…
Soon our minds will return to God as the needle of a compass constantly returns to the North.
4 thoughts on “Our Part in Practicing the Presence of God”
” Practicing the presence of God ” seems a strange phrase. Seeing that God is always present and somthing that doesn’t need our practice.
Being ever aware of His presence may be a better way to put this. Not sure we “practice” the fact that He is….
Having said that, being aware of God’s presence in our daily busy lives is part of understanding what it means to walk with God and having our hearts set on Him. Even in moments we would rather He not be…….
Practice of the Presence of God is an old phrase used by those interested in Spiritual Formation. It is probably most associated with Brother Lawrence and his 17th Century devotional work that bears that title.
As far as being odd, probably no more so that Spiritual Discipline..(Does one actually “discipline” the Spirit?) It is just a phrase then when considedered in light of what it actually means not only makes sesne but is meaningful.
I get that, doesn’t mean it’s not an odd phrase, (to me anyway) in that it’s a bit dated as I don’t think people talk or think of “practicing the presense of God” in those terms today. (maybe we should)
Just probably a bit of old language I assume. Especially if it was used more in the 17th & 18th centuries…
But Brother Lawrence had six means for attaning the presence of God …. which again seems a bit weird to me. As if I can by what I do, make Gods presence be more real than it is. Lawrenec says the keys are:
1) Great purity of life…. in guarding ourselves to do or say anything which may be displeasing to God..
2) Great faithfulness…. Keeping the soul fixed on God without allowing an entrance to anxious cares and disquietude…
3) Study before taking up any task to look to God….
4) Take head that your mind wonders not and keep it fixed on God alone….
5) Practing the presence of God is hard at first but draws down God’s Grace abundantly ….
6) Then No soul who delights in earthly things can find joy in the presence of God…
Wow….sounds like being a monk. But yes all these things discribed above are good things and what we should be about. Brother Lawrence however, in his book, makes it seems as though God’s presence is something we make possible by our actions as if we do and say and act and study and meditate God will somehow manifest himself to us because of what we’ve done…. There is certanily truth to that, but I would caution a works mentaility in all of this.
All six of the information line in Brother Lawrence’s communication about understanding ability are able to be used with number four being clarified. There is nothing you can cause yourself to understand and to God what you are seeing and understanding is the attention span and it is also the soul. The mind wanders when what it is seeing is not united for an existence to understand awareness to God continuously within a placement of knowledge according to an existences always eternal interest span. When God removes aware communication from entering into the area of the mind, your sight and your attention and your knowing about what you see that is experienced as interesting now is united with all life that is understanding continuously aware to God. What God causes as your continuous emotional experiencing ability replaces any elements of desire or earthly preoccupation. Works is a word that is not continuable. Go sit and see what you experience as interesting and do and say what God causes to be experienced within the continuous atmosphere comprised of love (the wind or gravity when it is collected (ascended or relflected) and rotated against the clock continuously. God will cause your existence fluidly and your activity spontaneously in a way that it appreciates. This is not new information, it is the same knowing as always placed to what is English not subject to multiple translation.