Sense You Every Moment

Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him? – Brother Lawrence

For morning prayers with the Portland Jeremiah House, we have been using Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals to guide our time together. On Friday (January 11), the book added some insight regarding a French monk from the 17th century, called Brother Lawrence.

I like that the prayers are normally simple, without teaching, and they allow us to meet God and share prayer with no agenda except to pray. Yet this exception to the norm was great. I thought it was some really important insight, and it added to my experience, and it led me to think about what it had to say.

The refrain repeated three times in the prayer was this:

May I sense you every moment and make my whole life a prayer.

For me those words carry the thrust of everything I am trying to do and be by participating in Jeremiah House and answering God’s call for my life.

In one way, it makes the spiritual aspect of my life easier. It means that because all of my life is prayer, I don’t need to feel guilty for not keeping God constantly and consciously in the forefront of my mind.

In other ways, it makes life more challenging.

In another way, it frees me to see the mundane, the normal, the “non-spiritual” aspects of my day as part of my worship, as part of my soul, as part of how I interact with Jesus.

In some ways, it makes everything harder.

What the prayer “May I sense you every moment and make my whole life a prayer” does for me and what Brother Lawrence teaches me is that I am free to be whole. The good news we have received regarding Jesus’ victory over evil and death is that we are free to be made completely alive.

Brother Lawrence’s words encouraging us to do our business for the love of Jesus means that my spirit is free to find Jesus in everything. At the same time, it necessarily means that I have to conduct all my business in ways that line up with Jesus’ character. It means that to lie or cheat, to harm or diminish myself or others in the details of daily living is to offer God a profane prayer. It means that when I disregard God’s character in my supposedly non-spiritual activities, I offer worship that offends God. I reduce myself and cheat God.

The good thing is God forgives. The great thing is that the Holy Spirit helps me to offer right sacrifices and guides me ever more into being like Jesus.

May I sense you every moment and make my whole life a prayer.

These words make possible the command to pray without ceasing. When I think of Jesus, I can pray conscious words. When I live for Jesus, I can pray intentional actions.

It means the scrubbing and the typing, the praying and the worship, the speaking and walking and eating and working I do are all integrated into my life characterized by prayer. It gives heavenly value to the small and unimportant things. It gives me a vision of Jesus in each moment. It gives me the freedom to grow closer to God.

This is simply one of many things I am learning from my new relationships and commitments, and I look forward to many more.

How has God called you to make your whole life a prayer?

3 thoughts on “Sense You Every Moment

  1. I’ve got to read more of what Brother Lawrence has to say on prayer. I watched a documentary yesterday about the life of St. John of the Cross. A Spanish friar and mystic who was an important figure in the reformation of the Carmelite order. St. John was known for his writings about the Christian soul. Some are called to live solely for Christ. He was one of them. He spent most of his life praying and bringing about a reformation within the Carmelite order. Made me wish again that I were a nun. Watch it on Netflix, if you’re interested.

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