Cultivating the Inner Life, Part 1: Remaining in the Presence of God
“… pray without ceasing…” - 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)
This single verse has captivated the hearts of Christians for centuries. How can one pray without ceasing? This same question was asked by Brother Lawrence in the Seventeenth Century. In his search to practice unceasing prayer, he discovers how to continually remain in the presence of God.
In Episode 3 of the Good and Faithful Show we learned that prayer is simply communicating with our Father. It involves listening to the voice of the Father, speaking to Him, and making our requests known to Him in humility. As Good and Faithful Servants we are called to cultivate the discipline of prayer.
The Bible gives many Scriptures on prayer and stresses its vitality to our relationship with the Father. In this article, we look to Brother Lawrence as he teaches us the key to praying without ceasing.
In his book, The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence teaches us how to constantly be aware of the Presence of God through continual prayer. Brother Lawrence arrives at a Carmelite monastery to give his life in full service to God. Upon realizing that he is not qualified to be part of the clergy, he decides to stay and work as a lay brother. During his time at the monastery, Brother Lawrence’s duties are relegated to kitchen duties and other janitorial tasks. While performing these tasks, he desires a way to constantly be aware of the Presence of God. Instead of keeping to the set times of prayer, which were routine within the monastery, Brother Lawrence practices being aware of the Presence of God through every task he does. He realizes that,
“To think that we must abandon conversation with Him in order to deal with the world is erroneous. Instead, as we nourish our souls by seeing God in His exaltation, we will derive a great joy at being His.”
As we look to the example of Brother Lawrence, we learn that unceasing prayer gives us the strength we need to go through every part of our day. Brother Lawrence reminds us that we can speak to God whenever we want because His Presence lives within us. Recognizing this precious gift allows us the freedom to seek the face of God whenever we please. Remaining in the Presence of God reminds us that our worship to the Father is not secluded to Sunday mornings, Bible Studies, and devotions. Worship to the Father is to occur moment-by-moment, throughout the day, and in every area of our lives.
So what can we do to develop the inner life of consistent prayer? How can we pray without ceasing? I'm so glad you asked. Here are a few steps that we can learn from our Brother Lawrence:
Speak to God continually- Luke tells us in Luke 5:16 (ESV) that “[Jesus] would often withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Like our Saviour, we are to speak to our Father as often as we can. He is always ready to hear His children.
Praise God always- David said in Psalm 34:1 (ESV), “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Give thanks to God for every blessing in your life knowing that every blessing comes from Him.
Call out to God often- Psalm 46:1 (ESV) tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Call out to Him. He is always available to you.
Do everything unto God- Colossians 3:17 (ESV) reminds us that, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Whether that is cleaning a kitchen, taking care of your children, or preaching in the pulpit. Do everything in the name of Jesus Christ.
Surrender entirely to God- Paul appeals to us in Romans 12:1 (ESV) by the mercy of God to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Give everything to God. Your life, your marriage, your family, your job. Everything! He wants all of you.
As we close our time together. I leave you with one final quote from Brother Lawrence:
“Neither skill nor knowledge is needed to go to God. All that is necessary is a heart dedicated entirely and solely to Him out of love for Him above all others.”
Ask the Lord to draw you into His Presence continually. Confess to Him that at times the troubles of the day distract you from the reality that you can speak with the everlasting God at any time of the day. Ask Father to increase your desire for regular communication with Him through prayer. Remember to make your every need known to Him, no matter how small. As you go about your day, give thanks to the Lord that you can draw near to Him in prayer, knowing that He will draw near to you. Ask Him to help you pray without ceasing.
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 Brother Lawrence. The Practice of the Presence of God. (You can find a paperback copy of this book through various online bookstores)
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.