I didn’t really realize when I wrote this post that there would be a Part 2. But here it is!
My girls’ favorite Christmas song was off an old Amy Grant Christmas CD – aptly named “Emmanuel”. We keep listening to it (even now) because they like it.
Lord of life, Lord of All,
He is the Prince of Peace,
Some days I can’t get it out of my head! The tune is so catchy and if you’ve ever heard it, you’re probably singing it right now!
But it totally ties in with the theme that’s been going on in my head as I continue to read “The Practice of the Presence of God”. Who wouldn’t want to be with the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, and the prince of peace every moment of every day?
So here are a few more nuggets from the book:
“I cannot imagine how religious persons can live satisfied without the practice of the presence of God. For my part, I keep myself retired with Him in the fund or center of my soul as much as I can; and while I am so with Him I fear nothing, but the least turning from Him is insupportable. This exercise does not much fatigue the body; it is, however, proper to deprive it sometimes, nay, often of many little pleasures which are innocent and lawful, for God will not permit that a soul which desires to be devoted entirely to Him should take other pleasures than with Him: that is more than reasonable.” [italics mine]
“When the mind … has contracted certain bad habits of wandering and dissipation, they are difficult to overcome, and commonly draw us, even against our wills, to the things of the earth. …One way to recollect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and perserve it more in tranquility, is not to let it wander too far at other times. You should keep it strictly in the presence of God; and being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its wanderings.”
“…think often on God, by day, by night, in your business, and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone. You would think it rude to leave a friend alone who came to visit you; why, then, must God be neglected? Do not, then, forget Him, but think on Him often, adore Him continually, live and die with Him; this is the glorious employment of a Christian. In a word, this is our profession; if we do not know it, we must learn it.” [italics mine]
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.” Brother Lawrence says that our profession is to practice His presence in our lives, and I think I have a lot to learn. The first and second quotes from the book remind me that God calls me to a high standard – and even some “good” things must be denied in my life in order to truly acknowledge “God with me” – Immanuel – every moment. I really desire that, but oh, dear, what discipline it requires!
So what about you – are you trying to practice God’s presence in your life? How do you go about it?