Communion With God Can Be Found Anywhere

Skye Jethani
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Nicholas Herman was born in 1614 in France. Poverty forced him to join the army for a tiny salary and regular meals. When Nicholas was 18, in the middle of winter, he discovered faith in Christ through a tree. That may sound strange but Scripture is full stories of God using odd things—frogs, donkeys, whales, and even bushes. So a tree is not beyond possibility. The sight of the barren tree sparked Nicholas’s imagination. A compiler of his letters wrote about how “he received a high view of the providence and power of God . . . and it kindled in him such a love for God” that it never faded from his soul.[1] Years later he left the army to enter a monastery, where he changed his name to “Lawrence of the Resurrection.”

Scripture is full stories of God using odd things.

For the rest of his life, Brother Lawrence served in a kitchen, and it was among the pots and pans that he discovered a peaceful life of continual communion with God. He believed firmly that all work, all places, and indeed all of life was sacred. Going further, Lawrence said those who elevated times of corporate worship as more important, or who used elaborate rituals to drew closer to God suffered from “a great delusion.” With words that still challenge our interest in elaborate religious spectacles, Lawrence said:

Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of Him?[2]

Rather than rituals or elaborate church events to fuel his spirituality, Brother Lawrence developed a capacity for ceaseless prayer as the apostle Paul commanded. He conducted his ordinary work in the monastery’s kitchen with his mind always attentive to God’s presence. He said, “As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshiper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence, recalling it when I found it wandering from him. This proved to be an exercise frequently painful, yet I persisted through all difficulties.”

Always radiating the joy and tranquility of Christ, Lawrence attracted many others to his simple way of life and prayer. “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”[3]

(Read more in Psalm 139:1-12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

[1] The Practice of the Presence of God: Being Conversation and Letters of Nicolas Herman of Lorraine, 5th ed. (London: James Nisbet & Co., Limited, 1904), 7.

[2] Sheldon Cheney, Men Who Have Walked with God (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 1997), 303.

[3] Brother Lawrence (Nicholas Herman), The Practice of the Presence of God (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group), 1967, Fifth Letter.

For Further Reading:

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