Over 400 years ago, back in the 1600’s, Brother Lawrence served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris. It was there that he sought every day to practice being aware of — and attentive to — Your Presence, Lord.
It was a journey of profound intimacy with You.
This awareness and attentiveness made even the simple act of peeling potatoes an act of worship. His writings about his experiences with You were later compiled into a classic book, The Practice of the Presence of God, published after his death.
I have always loved this thought — that even the simplest of everyday activities could become experiences of profound worship in Your Presence, Lord. Yesterday, it just happened. I wasn’t consciously “practicing” Your Presence, but I had a moment of keen awareness of You anyway.
We had gone grocery shopping in the small town of Deep River, Ontario. Population 4,200. We had parked our truck and climbed out to go into the store. Suddenly, I stopped briefly in the parking lot. I don’t know why I stopped. I can only conclude it was You, Lord, wanting to make Yourself known to me in the midst of this simple, common chore.
I knew instantly it was You, Lord, when I looked up… and saw a single word. It was 1.5 blocks away — across the parking lot, beyond the adjoining street. My eyes locked on the first word I saw:
“I will praise You, God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever.” (Psalm 86:12)
It was part of a sign announcing the name of some business. Somehow I knew it was only the first syllable of the business name. This fact was soon verified when I moved just inches to my left. The rest of the name began to come into view.
But You had directed us to a particular parking space in that grocery store parking lot. A space from which I would emerge from our truck on the passenger’s side. You had me take several steps in a particular direction, then stopped me in a particular place a few feet away from our truck.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
Why? For no other reason than for me to look up in a particular direction… so my eyes would see — and direct my total focus to — You, Lord. The One who has captured my heart and who is always with me… closer than my next heartbeat.
What is the “chance” of that happening??? ZERO… apart from Your divine orchestration, that is.
“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” (Psalm 40:5)
Delighting in Your Presence, even when I’m not “practicing”… 🙂