As simple as time with God is, we’re always looking for help in this area.
Since this is a month of Time with God, we saw fit to revisit what is considered a spiritual classic—Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
This work was originally put together from thoughts and interviews with this man who was described as this clumsy giant of a man. Freré Lawrence was just as known for his humility and his simple nature.
We’re still benefitting from his life and spiritual practices centuries later. Toward the back of this work, Brother Lawrence puts pen to paper and lays out ways to attain the presence of God and the benefits that the discipline brings.
It would be a good reminder for us what the disciplines exist for.
We often make the mistake that what we do, we do for God as if he is the one benefitting from our efforts. God desires us but He doesn’t need us.
Anytime we practice a discipline it is for us. Disciplines exist for humans. They are means of helping us get to commune and worship Him. Inspired by the habits of Brother Lawrence, below are ways he lays out to help us get to God.
Working Toward the Presence of God
1. Purity of Heart
Know that you want God more than anything and take steps to shut earthly desires away.
Purity means that there can be only one desire and that as our wants pile up they become dirtier and messier. This holds true in the prayer closet.
Just as Joshua implored the Israelites to “choose this day who you will serve,” so we must choose Jesus over and over again if we’re going to enjoy his presence.
2. Leave Anxiety at the Door
If we are going to practice this discipline faithfully then we have to work at leaving anxiety, worry, and distractions at the door. But the heart doesn’t like a vacuum so replace such things with humility, love, and a quietness.
Yes, anxiety and worry seem to be a huge part of so many of us. But it is a necessary step as God tends to speak to us softly. Anxiety seems to scream at the top of it’s lungs.
There is only room for two voices in our prayer life—our’s and God’s.
3. The Heart Goes First
Our heart—not our brains—drives everything that we do when it comes to worship.
For the busy bee, the devotional life can become the most obligatory entry on a to-do list. If we’re not careful, our mind and our hands can get ahead of us.
Before we know it, we’ll have finished our reading and even taken some notes before our hearts have even been able to quiet itself—and then we leave.
That is not quality time with God. The heart must be first to enter into this time as well as the last to leave.
4. Meditate and Abide
The heart needs help. No one is completely immune from random thoughts taking us away from the Word in our time with God.
An excellent tip that Brother Lawrence offers is to begin repeating words and phrases.
Whatever your heart is suggesting in the moment, repeat it over and over to both center your heart on Jesus and drive away the secular. Lawrence suggests things like “God, I am wholly Yours” or “Lord, fashion me according to your heart.”
Repeat that you want Him and not the distractions. Ask Him to give you focus. Even repeat over and over again that you’re just not feeling it today and ask God to do His best with you.