What does practicing the presence of God mean?
Practicing the presence of God is a term used to describe someone being in continual fellowship with God and being continually aware of Him throughout the day.
The term was taken from the book “The Practice of the Presence of God.” The book is a collection of letters either written by Brother Lawrence or written by someone who knew Him.
For those of you who don’t know brother Lawrence was a chef in the 1600s and he lived in continual fellowship with God and because of this, he taught people what he learned.
His teaching was simple: whatever you do, in word or deed, converse with God about it. Talk to Him and worship Him as you do all of your tasks. If you happen to wander from this conversation, don’t beat yourself up about it, instead, peacefully return to communion with God as soon as you are aware of what happened.
Now that we covered what practicing the presence of God is let’s break down how we can do it in our own lives.
How to practice the Presence of God (7 Helpful Tips)
Spend focused and isolated time in God’s presence.
The Bible tells us that our prayer lives should consist of both continual fellowships with God as we go throughout our day and private prayer that is done in secret.
To have a healthy relationship with God outwardly, we need to have a healthy relationship with God in private. When we take time to be alone with God in secret prayer and worship our minds won’t wander so easily.
As opposed to just attempting to pray throughout the day when life is busy-this is much more difficult. But when we combine the two, they strengthen one another.
We see the same thing in the life of Jesus and in the life of Paul.
Talk to God before, during, and after every task.
This is something that brother Lawrence would personally do to ensure that He maintained continual conversation with God.
Here are a couple of quotes from the book:
“That the most excellent method he had found of going to GOD, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men, [Gal. i. 10; Eph. vi. 5, 6.] and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of GOD“
“That we need only to recognize GOD intimately present with us, to address ourselves to Him every moment, that we may beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful, and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have done.”
“As he proceeded in his work, he continued his familiar conversation with his Maker, imploring His grace, and offering to Him all his actions.”
Spend time in God’s Word
Spending time in God’s Word is the key to a renewed mind and only a renewed mind will be able to practice the presence of God.
The Bible says that we are to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:22).
In this verse, James the writer isn’t referring to getting saved and going to heaven. We know this because He is writing to the church, a.k.a people who are already saved. So the word soul in this verse means our mind, will, and emotions.
Essentially the writer is saying that we should receive the word of God and have it shape the way we think and feel, which is basically a renewed mind.
As we do this it will consistently become easier to keep our attention on God because the things of this world will not sway our thinking as effectively as they once did.
Speak in tongues often
Speaking in tongues is a huge key to being able to remain aware of God’s presence. The apostle Paul said that he spoke in tongues more than the entire Corinthian church (1 Corinthian 14:18). And he also commanded that the church should pray in tongues at all times (Ephesians 6:18).
That means that he probably woke up, got ready, worked, traveled, and cleaned all while praying in tongues! That is a lot of speaking in tongues.
And the beautiful thing about speaking in tongues is that although our mind is unfruitful without a divine interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:13), our spirit isn’t unfruitful. In fact, the Bible says that our spirit is getting edified as we pray in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:4), and as this edification happens it makes it easier to be aware of God’s presence.
If you want to know more about speaking in tongues you can check out some more of my articles here: Is Speaking in Tongues for everyone? (Biblical Answer) and Is Speaking in Tongues a Real Language? Or is it Gibberish?
Don’t condemn yourself
I think one of the biggest keys to brother Lawrence’s teaching is that when we are aware that our mind wandered we should only peacefully return to talking with God. The habit many of us do is when we realize that we wandered in our thoughts we immediately condemn ourselves and get frustrated with our lack of ability.
Doing the latter rather than the former will only create a habit of frustration and it will hinder our fellowship with God, but if we correct our wandering mind by simply returning to prayer it’ll create a habit of delightful fellowship with the Father.
The truth is God isn’t condemning you for trying to learn to commune with Him all day! So you and I shouldn’t either.
Let love drive you to Him
Another cool tip is that we should let love overtake us so that this practice doesn’t become a work or a discipline, but rather a result of our love for Him.
Practicing God’s presence has so much to do with our heart activity that a hypocrite wouldn’t even do it. The only reason why any Christian would want to practice God’s presence in this way is because they love Him. There is no other possible reason.
So for the Christian reading this, you and I both know that many times when we try to create a discipline that’ll build our relationship with God, often that discipline will become a work in our lives and not a result of love.
Then that work begins to drive and motivate us and not love. Obviously, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen too often.
So, instead, we should do nothing without the motive of love. This will not only keep us from falling into works but it will also create an ease to our fellowship with God because love is intoxicating.
Here is a quote from brother Lawrence that explains this a little better:
“..that he had well considered this, and found it the shortest way to go straight to Him by a continual exercise of love, and doing all things for His sake…That our only business was to love and delight ourselves in GOD.”
Sing throughout the day
My last tip for practicing the presence of God is to worship and praise Him through song. This is often an overlooked one because not many people realize that singing to the Lord is a form of prayer and that singing is a way for us to be continually filled with God’s Spirit (which only happens when we practice God’s presence. Related article: Filled with the Holy Spirit: Does it Happen Once or Multiple Times).
A perfect example of this is the apostle Paul. He utilized singing in his prayer life often. If you remember at the beginning of the article I said that Paul had a life of continual fellowship. Well, one way he did this was through song. Here are some passages to prove this.
In Acts 16:25, the Bible says “at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.” In Acts 13:2, the Bible says that Paul and others “ministered to the Lord and fasted.” Ministering to the Lord is simply worshipping God and even singing to Him.
In Ephesians 5:18-20, Paul tells us to “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
So as you can see from just a few of these passages singing to the Lord was a pretty big deal to the apostle Paul.
Also, notice how being filled with God’s spirit is directly correlated with singing to the Lord, and since the Holy Spirit is the presence of God on the earth it’ll be wise of us to be inviting to Him, and singing to the Father apparently does this. [Related article: Is the Presence of God the Holy Spirit? (Biblical Answer)]
If you desire to read more articles on a similar topic you can by clicking on the title of each article. How to Recognize/Be Aware of God’s Presence (5 Helpful tips) and How to Stay/Abide/Dwell in the Presence of God (4 steps)
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