I first learned the concept of practicing of the presence of God from the book, The Purpose Driven Life, when the author Rick Warren mentioned the classical book, The Practice Of The Presence Of God. Within a short time, I saw a copy of the classic in a Christian library and picked it up.
If God didn’t arrange the coincidence in the library, I would not have read it and the changes that came afterward would have gone missed.
I fell in love with the book once I opened it. Later, me and my friend purchased many copies and gave them out for free.
It revolutionized my Christian life. It was like a major revamp. To this day, the presence of God is still going strong and the level of intimacy has never receded.
Biblical foundation of the Practice Of The Presence Of God
Although the author of TPOTPOG, Brother Lawrence, didn’t mention many biblical references in the book, almost every aspect of TPOTPOG stem from God’s basic commands that we as Christian were familiar with. The way he devotes himself to live out the commands and share the insights through human words make it very enjoying and inspiring.
I thought, it was so easy! Lawrence made it clear and concise what we must do and what attitude we must have to walk with God.
Prior to the reading, I had always wondered why it felt like something was missing in my relationship with God. There was a void to be filled, but I didn’t know how to fill it. I had been going to church and fellowship with other Christians regularly, and I had quiet time with the Lord everyday, but there was a silent yearning beneath my soul.
What Will I Experience Through Practicing The Presence Of God?
Through practicing, you will be able to see the Lord and focus on Him in everything you do. You will find the power and desire to do His will amid all the usual obstacles, distraction, and chaos in life. You will be able to see and testify what God’s perfect will is in things big or small. You don’t have to do big things and take big leaps every time, even in the small things you will be able to handle them in a way that pleases the Lord.
You will gradually become a fireball for God. At first, you may not sense it, but when you can feel the intensity, it already happened. All the lukewarmness and complacency will be consumed by an intense desire to seek God.
Think You Will Feel Holy And Satisfied? Maybe Quite The Opposite!
Instead of feeling holy, the presence of God may make you feel quite the opposite! You will see every hidden sinful attitude and transgressions against God and others. You will see blind spots that you have previously missed. You will mourn for the complacency and lukewarmness of the past (In the presence of the Lord you will see your previous lifestyle as complacent and lukewarm, even if by human standard you were not) and feel intense pain for allowing yourself to have lived that way.
The fire gives you intense desire and focus for the Lord, but it can also pain you.
Rather than satisfaction or “as a deer panteth for the water”, you will feel very thirsty and hungry for more spiritual insights and growth. You will be afraid to miss out any chance to grow and serve the Lord. Anymore missing out with God’s perfect plan will pain you to no end because you can now see the eternal chain consequences of everything you do in obedience to God’s will, the blessings are too great, and therefore too painful to miss.
Random, Spontaneous, and Being On-call All The Time
You will discover that God like you to take the leap of faith when things are uncertain. Human likes to know what is going on, and what will happen, but the Lord’s servants are likely to engage one unexpected adventure after another.
You won’t know whom you are going to meet at any time, whom you are going to share the gospel with tonight, and out of a sudden God might prompt you to do something challenging such as to preach to a crowd on a very short notice.
The first year I practiced the presence of God I was a University student. Back then I would often take a walk in the Campus and run into friends. There were quite a few times when I met an acquaintance, a new friend whom I’d met for only a couple of hours, or an old friend whom I hadn’t met in a while, and God would ask me to share the gospel with them. Every time I obeyed God’s prompting the person I talked to accepted Christ!
God will work wonders around you if you obey His orders. See my article Self Doubt And The Leap Of Faith Part 3: Power And Desire to learn more about seeking God’s will and do the seemingly undoable by God’s grace.
Stretching You To Your Furthest Limit
You will become a threat to Satan’s kingdom, so expect him to wage a major campaign against you for as long as you live. If you are unalert and/or uninformed of his schemes, you will suffer continuous casualties. If you want to know why even a godly man can suffer unjust and undeserved attacks that can make your life tough, see my article on Spiritual Battle…And The Cost Of Not Engaging In It.
God will give you exciting projects to do, but the more success you enjoy, the more it can reveal your character flaws.
It’s like stress testing – you might be cool when things are normal, but God will test you by allowing things overload. You might be able to forgive one person at a time, but how about two? Three? Or many within a short time?
God will give you many challenging tasks to do, but His grace is sufficient, and He will also allow the enemies to launch waves of attacks on you – to see how long you can hold out, to test your faith and character under trying circumstances.
When people see success in you, they will be attracted by you. Many will come to you and ask for one thing or another. But be careful whom you fellowship with. Some are wolves under sheep clothing. And even Christians can be used by Satan to hurt you.
Many will come to you because they see that you have influences, so they want to use you for their own purposes, for examples, to rebuke their spouses and vindicate them in relational conflicts; to give you a bad report of someone they held grudges against so you will stand on their sides and that they can quote you in gossips or arguments; and to complain about something so you will fix the problems for them, etc.
Pray for wisdom and discernment! Don’t fall into these traps! Otherwise you spirit and soul will be contaminated!
The are many traps on your path to higher ground! Satan, the world, and those who live according to the flesh will try to pull you back as you practice the presences of God. On the other hand, the Lord will give you important assignments which test your faith and character. You will grow as you learn to defend yourself against the former and embrace the latter.
With Friends Like That, Who Needs Enemies?
There are roughly two kinds of Christians, carnal Christian and spiritual Christian. Carnal Christians seldom pray and fellowship with the Lord when alone, but they might still go to church regularly and can be very active in the Church socially, which is the problem.
These carnal Christians can also be active in a ministry, and that can create a lot of stumbling blocks for those around.
By definition, a carnal Christian is a Christian who runs his or her own show, with Christ as their savor, but not their Lord. A man who relies on self cannot help but creates many consequences that are eternally bad.
Even apostle Paul was grieved by such Christians:
20[Paul:]For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you [The Corinthians Church] as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 2 Corinthians 12:20
These are fruits of carnal living. And those who live according to flesh (Carnal Christian) naturally persecute the spiritual Christian:
29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Galatians 4:29
Until they see their errors and repent, they will create problems for each other and for those who purpose to live by the Spirit. They despise what they don’t understand, and because a carnal Christian don’t understand a spiritual Christian, the carnal will persecute the spiritual out of ignorance and narrow-mindedness.
Carnal and Spiritual are opposite polar, but it’s not like you are either one or another – it’s like a spectrum where most people fall in between. Unfortunately, most people lean on the carnal side, and many are heavily carnal (But you may not find them to be frequent church goers anyway)! Be prepared for unpleasant experience when fellowship with carnal Christians.
I wrote an article about the harmful effect of bad friends, click here to see how you may avoid them.
God will come to you from time to time to ask for more of you. Can you surrender your relationship life to Him? Can you give up dating and reserve yourself for someone special? Can you surrender a prestigious career and follow your true calling? Can you surrender worldly entertainment and trust God as the sole provider of joy and peace?
Every time God come to ask you for something, there will be a lot of soul searching, discerning, some confusions, and ultimately, the best way out is to surrender, or you can stay where you are, but that’s not going to be the best place to be. You either choose the world from the start and embrace a self driven life, or you choose God and live a spirit driven life. Anything in between is not going to please anyone, and you will be left in limbo (figuratively, I don’t mean literally)!
Even after you decide to surrender, the temptations to take things back to your own hands will remain strong. The gal or guy you are smitten with is going to be around that you don’t know where else to look at, people will ask why you don’t apply for this or that job with your degree, and there will be many advice on how to take control of your life and etc.
More On Practicing The Presence Of God
To practice the presence of God in this age is challenging. It requires many spiritual knowledge, awareness, and training. The rewards of this discipline are exceedingly great that it worth to have an entire training program devoted to it.
The book itself is written in old English, but I somehow managed to understand what the author was saying. I am going to release a series of commentary on the original words of the book. Like this idea? Drop a comment to let me know!
More is coming.