A number of years ago I read the classic from Brother Lawrence The Practice of the Presence of God. I found the concept winsome and alluring but did not see how I could adopt his practices into my life. He was a monk who spent time peeling potatoes and, well, being a monk. My life was filled with work, ministry and family that were all highly cognitive and highly relational. I tried many things to develop the habit of practicing the presence of God but failed miserably.
Then about 10 years ago I came across Frank Laubach’s Game with Minutes. Here was a man who led a worldwide organization that taught millions of people to read. Clearly Frank was not living the lifestyle of a monk. Yet he claimed that through the habit of the Game with Minutes, he was able to connect with God / to be aware of His presence 24/7. He journals about the difficulty at first but that he finally achieved a breakthrough where for the rest of his life he was able to connect with God every minute of every hour of every day. Again, the Game with Minutes was a failure for me. I was never even close to acknowledging God every minute of every day.
The best defense [against anxious thoughts] is continual communication with Me, richly seasoned with thanksgiving. Awareness of My Presence fills your mind with Light and Peace, leaving no room for fear.
Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission says the following:
The first and most basic thing we can and must do is to keep God before our minds. David knew this secret and wrote, “I keep the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure” (Psalm 16:8-9).
This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls. Our part in this practicing the presence of God is to direct and redirect our minds constantly to Him. In the early time 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. A new, grace-filled habit will replace the former ones as we take intentional steps toward keeping God before us. Soon our minds will return to God as the needle of a compass constantly returns to the north, no matter how the compass is moved. If God is the great longing of our souls, He will become the polestar of our inward beings.
- Send / receive email
- Send / receive text
- Make / receive a phone call
- Drive past a speed limit sign
- Move from room to room
- Pick up your phone
- Turn a page in a book
- Take a bite to eat or take a drink.
- Start a new phase of a project
Present Perfect by Greg Boyd – This was a wonderfully helpful book. Greg wrote it even though he hasn’t perfected the discipline. And that helps. He provides several ways to practice the presence of God at the end of each chapter. Don’t miss them.
Life in the Presence of God by Ken Boa – this book has over 100 every day ways to connect to God. This might help you more than it helped me. I need things that repeat day in and day out so that I can cultivate the habit.
The Attentive Life by Leighton Ford – This book takes a little different turn – and although it didn’t move me down the field in terms of cultivating a 24/7 habit, it presses the same point with different helps along the way.