Saturday 7 October 2023

The Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Lawrence

The Practice of the Presence of God
Brother Lawrence
ISBN 9780883681053

The Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Lawrence

I picked up this edition of this book to read because it was the one I read over 30 years ago in university. This book was very popular in Campus ministry back then and had been recommended by staff from Campus Crusade for Christ, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and The Navigators. And this was the edition I recall using in the late 80’s and early nineties. I picked it up to read again because I had recently read Practising the Presence of God: with Brother Lawrence by Jennifer Moorcroft from the Catholic Truth Society. I was a little surprised to find out that I had not read it since I started keeping track of all books I read back in the fall of 1995. For there was a period where I read it each semester while at university. 

The description of this edition states:

“Brother Lawrence was a man of humble beginnings who discovered the greatest secret of living in the kingdom of God here on earth. It is the art of “practicing the presence of God in one single act that does not end.” He often stated that it is God who paints Himself in the depths of our souls. We must merely open our hearts to receive Him and His loving presence.

As a humble cook, Brother Lawrence learned an important lesson through each daily chore: The time he spent in communion with the Lord should be the same, whether he was bustling around in the kitchen—with several people asking questions at the same time—or on his knees in prayer. He learned to cultivate the deep presence of God so thoroughly in his own heart that he was able to joyfully exclaim, “I am doing now what I will do for all eternity. I am blessing God, praising Him, adoring Him, and loving Him with all my heart.”

This unparalleled classic has given both blessing and instruction to those who can be content with nothing less than knowing God in all His majesty and feeling His loving presence throughout each simple day.”

The chapters and sections in this volume:

Part One: Conversations
First Conversation
Second Conversation
Third Conversation
Fourth Conversation

Part Two: Letters
First Letter
Second Letter
Third Letter
Fourth Letter
Fifth Letter
Sixth Letter
Seventh Letter
Eighth Letter
Ninth Letter
Tenth Letter
Eleventh Letter
Twelfth Letter
Thirteenth Letter

Part Three: Spiritual Maxims
Spiritual Maxims
Essential Practices for the Spiritual Life
How to Adore God
The Union of the Soul with God
The Presence of God
The Means of Acquiring God's Presence
The Blessings of the Presence of God

Part Four: The Life of Brother Lawrence
The Life of Brother Lawrence as recorded by Joseph Beaufort

I have 3 other digital editions of this book, including a complete Brother Lawrence Collection from Sublime Books, and a modernized translation as well. In was only while researching for this review that I discovered that this edition is an abridged version. Part one is missing Letters 5-15. I greatly enjoyed rereading this volume, but was disappointed to realize that it was cut down. I wonder if that is the reason non-denomination evangelical campus ministries recommended this version. I plan to read a complete version and maybe more than one translation. 

The preface states:

“The Practice of the Presence of God is a collection of Brother Lawrence's spiritual insights into the heart of God, as revealed through his letters, conversations, and his life itself. Written over three hundred years ago, this message is relevant for every Christian who is caught up in the rush of today's world.

Each section, whether written by the author's own hand or by his close friend, Joseph de Beaufort, reveals the inner secrets of Brother Lawrence's heart — a heart that had learned the most essential ingredient of the Christian life: how to remain in the presence of God.

In this abridged edition, we have sought to update and clarify the language of this Christian classic, paraphrasing where necessary, while keeping the essence of the message intact.

We trust that Brother Lawrence's lifelong endeavor to dwell completely in the presence of God will become a continual practice for all who read this book.”

What is contained in this edition was as impactful and meaningful as I recalled. It is an excellent book. But with it being abridged I would recommend you track down a complete edition for your reading. For those are my plans. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by and about Brother Lawrence:
The Practice of the Presence of God - Whitaker House Edition

The Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Lawrence

The Complete  Brother Lawrence

The Brother Lawrence Collection

The Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Lawrence

The Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Lawrence

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