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Book cover for The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence

The Practice of the Presence of God

Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence was a man of humble beginnings who discovered the greatest secret of living in the kingdom of God here on earth. It is the art of "practicing the presence of God in one single act that does not end." He often stated that it is God who paints Himself in the depths of our soul. We must merely open our hearts to receive Him and His loving presence. For centuries this unparalleled classic has given both blessing and instruction to those who can be content with nothing less than knowing God in all His majesty and feeling His loving presence throughout each simple day.

About Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunéville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern-day eastern France. His parents were peasants, so his schooling was limited at best. Young Nicholas Herman grew up during the calamitous Thirty Years War, which devastated central Europe between 1618 and 1648. As a young man, Herman's poverty forced him into joining the army, which guaranteed him meals and a small stipend. During this period, Herman claimed an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey.

He fought in the Thirty Years' War and following an injury, left the army and served as a valet. The ghastly experience of battle seared his mind to such a degree that he fell back on his religious upbringing, and never looked back. He never spoke of the horrors he had experienced, but the effects remained with him for the rest of his life.

Thus when his service as a footman ended, Nicholas sought spiritual fulfillment in the solitude of a hermit's life. He firmly resolved to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, a holy Discalced Carmelite. In June 1640, Nicolas joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris. He spent the rest of his life with the Parisian community, where his primary assignments were working in the kitchen and, in his later years, repairing sandals.

Despite his lowly position in life and the priory, his character attracted many to him. He had a reputation for experiencing profound peace and visitors came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God.

He was ill three times during the last years of his life. Lucid up to the last moments, Brother Lawrence died at the age of seventy-seven. His death on February 12, 1691 occurred in relative obscurity, but his teachings lived on in the compilation of his words.

Biographical text taken from Wikipedia