Read: Jeremiah 19:1-21:14, 1Thessalonians 5:4-28, Psalm 82:1-8, Proverbs 25:9-10
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Relate: One of the most life changing books I’ve ever read is a book that took me maybe an hour, cover to cover. Now, I’ve read lots of books. Some of them are really good. Some of them are really popular books that I personally thought were terrible (Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, etc). Outside the Bible, though, I think the greatest book I’ve ever read was actually the collected sayings of an illiterate monk who died more than 300 years ago. If you’ve never read it, you can grab a free kindle version or a paperback for less than $5 here.
The book is about Brother Lawrence, born Nicolas Herman, a laymen in a Carmelite monastery. For 53 years of his life he never left the monastery as he worked as a cook and, later, as a shoe repairmen. What made him famous was that he did his best to make his life such that every action, every thought, every task was an act of prayer. Think about it: this man was a cook for ascetics and a shoe repairmen for an order of barefoot monks. He couldn’t read and write and never got a promotion in over 50 years of faithful service. Yet he was visited by Archbishops, Dukes and Barons. His thoughts and testimony has been printed in dozens of languages in millions of copies and has influenced the lives of men like Wesley and Tozer.
React: I used to equate my godliness with how much time I spent in prayer. I’d read about men like Praying Hyde and comments Luther made on prayer and made it my goal to spend 3 hours every morning in prayer. Those days I did it, I was only doing my duty, those days I didn’t… I was living in guilt. This book was huge in changing my mindset. It wasn’t just about how much time I spent on my knees. It was also about how I spent my time once I got off them. Brother Lawrence said there was no difference for him between his time in the kitchen and his time in the chapel. Every moment, every act, he would strive to live in the presence of the Father. That is what a life of prayer is about. That is what Paul means when he says, “Always be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants for you.”
Dear God, help me to live in Your presence. Help my every thought to be one pleasing to You. Help every action be one of praise to You. Help me to be aware that my every moment can be spent in communion with You. As I go from this place, go with me.