Practicing the Presence – Pt. 13



This post comes from the classic Christian devotional by Bro. Lawrence (Lawrence, Brother (Nicholas Herman, c. 1605-1691) who was a monk in the 1600’s. His simple but profound writings are an encouragement to believers today who desire to discover the presence of God in the midst of any chore, circumstance or crisis. It is truly gold for those desiring to live with a greater awareness of God’s presence in their lives. There are numerous postings from this work. You can view them all under the category, PRACTICING THE PRESENCE.

The material for the PRACTICING THE PRESENCE category was acquired from the (UTF-8) free text version through Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College, http://www.ccel.org  This site is a great resource for Classic public domain materials such as this.


Concerning wandering thoughts in prayer.

YOU tell me nothing new: you are not the only one that is troubled with
wandering thoughts. Our mind is extremely roving; but as the will is
mistress of all our faculties, she must recall them, and carry them to
GOD, as their last end.

When the mind, for want of being sufficiently reduced by recollection,
at our first engaging in devotion, has contracted certain bad habits of
wandering and dissipation, they are difficult to overcome, and commonly
draw us, even against our wills, to the things of the earth.

I believe one remedy for this is, to confess our faults, and to humble
ourselves before GOD. I do not advise you to use multiplicity of words
in prayer; many words and long discourses being often the occasions of
wandering: hold yourself in prayer before GOD, like a dumb or paralytic
beggar at a rich man’s gate: let it be your business to keep your mind
in the presence of the LORD. If it sometimes wander, and withdraw
itself from Him, do not much disquiet yourself for that; trouble and
disquiet serve rather to distract the mind, than to re-collect it; the
will must bring it back in tranquillity; if you persevere in this
manner, GOD will have pity on you.

One way to re-collect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and
preserve it more in tranquillity, is not to let it wander too far at
other times: you should keep it strictly in the presence of GOD; and
being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep
your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its

I have told you already at large, in my former letters, of the
advantages we may draw from this practice of the presence of GOD: let
us set about it seriously and pray for one another.

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