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In the Way of Brother Lawrence

In the Way of Brother Lawrence

Editor’s Note: This August, we’ve been privileged to have guest posts every Monday from our good friend and author, Doug Jones. If you want to take a look back at some of his other posts you can find them here and here.

“It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”

Brother Lawrence was a Carmelite monk who lived most of his life in a priory.  His role in the monastic community was serving the brothers in the kitchen.  He lacked the education and by some accounts the ability to do much else in the community.  He did provide another service, beyond washing dishes and peeling onions, though.  He encouraged and wrote letters to folks sharing the “secret of his humility and contentment.”  The secret wasn’t some unknown or magic formula, mind you. The secret was while he spent the long hours doing mundane things in the kitchen, he also communed deeply, honestly and regularly with the Holy of Holies.  In the midst of ordinary tasks, Brother Lawrence, turned inward to commune with the God of the Universe.

We now know that these letters and Brother Lawrence’s story was compiled into that little book entitled, Practicing the Presence of God.  I have tried to follow in the way of Brother Lawrence, in the midst of my routines and patterns I have attempted to practice the presence in authentic ways.  For myself, when I go out to the stable at night to feed our horses and pick the stall it is a great opportunity to practice the presence.  I pray, “refresh me” as I clean and refill the water buckets.  I pray “purge me” as I shovel manure and clean the stalls.  I pray the Jesus Prayer* as I move about the stable doing other tasks.  I move a bit slower than if I just focused on the task at hand, but it is a time I look forward too as I end my day communing with the Holy of Holies.

As you look at your own daily habits and routines how can you follow in the way of our Brother Lawrence?  Have you found ways to practice the presence of God in the midst of your everyday?

The Jesus Prayer:  “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
Doug Jones
R Douglas Jones has spent the past 25 years as a volunteer, part-time and full-time youth worker in the local church and as a retreat leader. He has earned a Master of Arts degree in Youth Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Doug lives in Western Pennsylvania with his wife, Lawren, and daughter, Amelia, along with many dogs, 2 cats, 2 horses and a pony.
  1. Rick Rhoads08-13-12

    This practice has restored my life. For me it is has been as simple as withdrawing from my desk to the leather chair in my office. It has become sacred space imbedded within my day, keeping me centered on His presence.