Most people are familiar with Brother Lawrence’s classic work from the 17th century, The Practice of the Presence of God. Less well-known are the writings of Frank Laubach from the early 20th century in which Laubach-a missionary to the Philllipines and author of over fifty books-chronicles his own journey of seeking to maintain a constant fellowship with the Lord. Seedsowers has put these writings together for us in a single compilation entitled Practicing His Presence. “This book,” according to the foreword,
carries the testimony of two men’s unique relationship with God… walking in the awareness of the presence of Christ… just a Christ walked about on earth, constantly aware of His Father.
The editor immediately challenges us as to whether such a relationship is really attainable in life, if it is to be desired, and asks if such an experience is actually central to all that we know of the Christian life. However our own stories may read up to this point, the testimonies of Lawrence and Laubach answer a resounding “yes” to each of these questions.
Reading this book is like searching through a chest full of treasure. Every page is an open window into spiritual reality. Best of all, it is not only spiritual but practical. Both Laubach and Brother Lawrence offer practical tips on how to find and cultivate the kind of fellowship with an indwelling Lord that they themselves enjoyed.
Personally, I benefited more from Laubach’s portion than I did Brother Lawrence’s. Listen to these quotes from Laubach, taken from letters he wrote to his father while living as a missionary on the island of Mindanao:
It is… that ‘moment by moment,’ every waking moment, surrender, responsiveness, obedience, sensitiveness, pliability, ‘lost in His love,’ that I now have the mind-bent to explore with all my might, to respond to Jesus Christ as a violin responds to the bow of the master.
Why do I constantly harp upon this inner experience? Because I feel convinced that for me,. and for you who read, there lie ahead undiscovered continents of spiritual living compared with which we are infants in arms.
I have tasted a thrill of fellowship with God which has made anything discordant with God disgusting.
Oh, this thing of keeping in constant touch with God, of making Him the object of my thought and the companion of my conversations, is the most amazing thing I ever ran across. It is working.
The most important discovery of my whole life is that one can take a little rough cabin and transform it into a palace just by flooding it with God.
It is our duty to live in the beauty of the presence of God on some mount of transfiguration until we become white with Christ. After all, the deepest truth is that the Christ-like life is glorious, undefeatably glorious. There is no defeat unless one loses God, and then all is defeat, though it be housed in castles and buried in fortunes.
If there is any contribution that I have to make to the world that will live, surely it must be my experience of God on Signal Hill.
If that isn’t enough to stir your hunger to read the book for yourself then I don’t know what will. Brother Lawrence brings us more of the same in the second section, only now we have it in a modern English that is very easy to read. Practicing His Presence is volume 1 in a library of spiritual classics released by the publisher. The front cover touts it as “one of the greatest pieces of Christian literature of all time”-a lofty status, but well-deserved in my opinion. Get this gem online, or better yet through your local bookstore. Or give me a call and I’ll let you borrow my copy. Whatever you do, just get your hands on this book.