Brother Lawrence developed the habit of continual conversation with God. Whether at prayer or at work, it became his practice to focus his heart and mind on God, thanking Him, praising Him, and asking for His grace to do whatever had to be done. And if he allowed himself to forget God, he confessed that to Him, drawing his thoughts back to God, like wayward children.
We must always keep our eyes on God and His glory in all we do, say or undertake. May the goal toward which we strive be to become perfect worshippers of God in this life, just as we hope to be throughout all eternity.
The holiest, most universal and most necessary practice in the spiritual life is the presence of God. To practice the presence of God is to take pleasure in and become accustomed to His divine company, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly in our hearts with Him at all times, and at every moment, especially in times of temptation, pain, spiritual dryness, and even unfaithfulness and sin.
Practicing the presence of God is the application of our spirit to God; it is the vivid recollection that God is present with us. It can be accomplished either through the imagination or by understanding.
It would not be out of place for those who are beginning this practice to inwardly form a few words. We could say: “My God, I am entirely yours; God of love, I love You with all my heart; Lord, do with me according to Your heart,” or some other words which love produces spontaneously.
The time of business is no different from the time of prayer. I possess God as tranquilly in the noise and clatter of my kitchen as if I were on my knees before God.
I am in the hands of God. He will do with me what may please Him. I do not act out of respect to others. If I do not serve Him here, I will serve Him elsewhere.
From the beginning of my entrance into the religious life, I regarded God as the goal and end of all the thoughts and affections of my soul.
He called the practice of the presence of God the shortest and easiest road to Christian perfection, the very form and life of virtue, and the great protection against sin.
We must give ourselves entirely and in complete abandonment to God, both in temporal and in spiritual matters. We must find our contentment in the execution of His will, whether He leads us by suffering or by consolations, so that everything should seem the same to a person who has truly abandoned himself.
His fixed times of prayer were no longer anything other than the practice of the presence of God, since his soul was at rest in God’s presence, and was unaware of anything other than love. Outside these fixed times of prayer he found scarcely any difference, holding himself always near to God, praising and blessing Him with all his strength, spending his life in continual joy, yet hoping nonetheless that God would give him something to suffer when he was stronger.
The goal we ought to set for ourselves is to be, starting in this present life, the most perfect worshippers of God that it is possible for a person to be, which is what we hope to do throughout all eternity.
So make it a habit little by little to worship Him in this way. Ask Him for His grace and offer Him your heart from time to time during the day in the midst of your work—at every moment if you are able.
Sometimes I think of myself at these times as a stone before a sculptor, from which he wishes to make a statue. Presenting myself like a stone before the divine Sculptor, I beg Him to form His perfect image in my soul and make me entirely like Him.
Our mind is extremely fickle, but since the will is master of all our powers, it must call back the mind and carry it to God as its final goal.
I worshipped Him there as often as I was able, keeping my mind in His holy presence, and recalling it whenever I found it had become distracted from Him.
For at all times, at every hour and every moment, even in the busiest part of my work, I banished and dismissed from my mind everything that could take away the thought of God from me.
We must unremittingly watch over ourselves so that we will do nothing, say nothing or think nothing that would displease Him.
Let us make it our business to know God. The more we know Him, the more we desire to know Him. And as love is measured by familiarity, the deeper and broader our familiarity with Him is, the greater our love will be.