Perhaps the best habit we can train in ourselves and in our children is to be in frequent heart-felt communion with the Lord at most any time we are awake, day or night. This is what the Savior was conveying in the words of Revelation 3:20: He wants to come in and eat with us. He wants to fellowship with His children. Brother Lawrence was perhaps the first to describe and exemplify this, as noted in the all-time best-selling classic, Practicing the Presence of God. To commune with our heavenly Father and His Son via the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, is something we can fit into whatever else we are doing.
Over and over again in the words that have preserved for us what Brother Lawrence practiced nearly 400 years ago, we read the basics of how to turn our hearts frequently to Him instead of being consumed by our daily activities. Here are some excerpts from the little book [the version quoted was compiled and edited by Tony Jones in 2007 by The Community of Jesus, Inc. [Brewster, Massachusetts: Paraclete Press)].
- “We must establish ourselves in the presence of God by continually conversing with Him. …a silent, secret, and nearly unbroken conversation of the soul with God. … One must be acquainted with a person before loving him. To be acquainted with Go one must think often about Him; and when we do love Him, we will also think very often about Him, for our heart is where our treasure is.”
- “We must nourish our souls with a lofty idea of God, and in this way we can take great joy in belonging to Him. … our only business in this life is to please God.”
- “We need … to make our faith come alive. … instead of taking faith for our rule and conduct, to amuse ourselves with little devotions that change every day.”
- “We must give ourselves entirely and in complete abandonment to God, both in temporal and in spiritual matters. … God should remain the Master and center of our attention. … Presenting myself like a stone before the divine Sculptor, I beg Him to form His perfect image in my soul and make me entirely like Him. … Let Him do with me according to His will. I want only Him and I want to be entirely His.”
- “All we must do is recognize God’s intimate presence within us and speak to Him every moment, asking Him for His help.”
- “There is no manner of life in the world more sweet or more delicious than continual conversation with God.”
- “If we only knew how much we need the grace and help of God, we would never lose sight of Him, not even for a moment.”
- “I occupy myself solely with keeping myself in God’s holy presence. I do this simply by keeping my attention on God and by being generally and lovingly aware of Him.”
Here are some additional strategies:
Read – along with your children—the quintessential tiny book by Robert Munger, My Heart, Christ’s Home.
Sing these four hymns often; learn the words by heart if they’re not in there already:
- Trust and Obey (1886) – one of the truest hymns there is. “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way. … When we do his good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.”
- Have Thine Own Way, Lord! (1902) – All four verses are a prayer to Him, to “mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”
- He Lives (by Alfred Ackley) (1933) – “He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. … You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.”
- I Would be True (1906) – verse 3: "I would be prayerful thru each busy moment; I would be constantly in touch with God. I would be tuned to hear His slightest whisper; I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod." (The author, Howard A. Walter, did just that, and died at age 35 while serving the Lord in Lahore, India.)
Memorize chunks of Scripture. Memorize chunks of Scripture. Psalm 27 is pertinent. Practicing the presence of God in our daily lives – and hiding His Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) – may be the key to a blessed life.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)