Besides conversations recorded by others, Brother Lawrence also connected with friends via letters. Some of these have been included in the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. The following are thoughts gleaned from the second letter.
Thoughts of death, judgment, hell, heaven and our sins remind us of our insufficiency.
God is our King. And yet this King “embraces us with love, in spite of our many sins,” because he is full of mercy and goodness.
When we apply ourselves continually to the presence of God, who is always with us and in us, we will see that:
— we are not as devoted to God as we wish to be
— we realize the seriousness of our sins
— we know we do not deserve the unmerited favors God continues to shower on us
Although these thoughts may cause us suffering, they need not be discouraging. When we accept the truth, we may rather experience “a profound inward peace.”
“An habitual, silent, and private conversation of the soul with God…gives much joy and contentment.”
“I desire Him to make His perfect image in my soul and render me entirely like Himself….When I apply myself to prayer, I feel all my spirit lifted up without any care or effort on my part.”
God treats me as his favorite.
Allow me to add a personal vignette here:
My father passed away at the age of 76, and we—Mom, my older brother, my younger sister and I—felt a strong sense of loss and grief, as well as joy that he had moved so gently into eternity. On one of the surreal days between Dad’s death and his funeral, my brother took me aside.
“I feel badly,” he said. “Dad always treated me special and I don’t want you to feel hurt.”
My response was, “Oh. I always thought I had a special place in his heart.”
I called my sister. “Bill says he feels bad because Dad always treated him best.”
She grinned. “No, we all know I was his favorite.”
What a legacy of love my father left us. Even though he had only come to know the Lord personally later in life, Dad’s love was a picture of God’s love for me. I am His favorite. You are His favorite.
“The soul which enjoys God in this way wants nothing but Him.”
We need to be real before God, to recognize our failures, shortcomings, sins, and to think on them.
Our hearts can be filled with thankfulness that in spite of our sins, the Lord God loves us and opens His arms to us. Remember the story of the prodigal son.
Practicing continual communion with God results in peace, joy and contentment. I think if we live in this way, we have great influence on the people around us. The blessings overflow.
I personally wish to revel in my relationship with the Lord. I am loved with an everlasting, unfathomable love. One of my favorite quotes from Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack is the Father’s statement: “I am especially fond of you.”
These thoughts remind me of a song. Give a listen, if you wish.