note to self: Yesterday’s practice at this proved it is exactly as Bro. L. said – it is painfully difficult. Most of the day I would have wandered then suddenly aware that I had done so. It feels so awkward and scripted – so fake… so not doing anything, for God or for me. One thing interesting: I learned something about my typical prayers through the day – they are rarely a meditation of His character – they are when He brings to mind someone, or I drive past someone, and simply cry to Him “Help them please.” Yes this is good – this is really good and easy for me – but this is nothing new, and it hasn’t brought me any growth (from what I can see) in finding COMFORT in His character – it is more simply a cry then moving on, not expecting any answer anyhow. This whole thing of crying out, then intentionally thinking on His character, was much harder – this is where it felt canned and “not from the heart”. I am hoping He took me “captive” to read this book to gently show me this;. I pray this will be the area the Spirit will grow me – I think this is key somehow to lots of things I struggle with.
Sadly, since I can’t seem to quickly come up with heartfelt meditations of His character at the spur of the moment, I am taking one for today, from Spurgeon this a.m. – His lovingkindness – that He came for the broken hearted, He loves them so much. That He can in no way ever cast out one who comes to Him, no matter what their state. That He makes provision for immediate and complete forgiveness, over and over – that He loves us so much He can’t keep His eyes from us, that is why He spends all His time interceeding for us.
Principles Pt. ll, Brother Lawrence:
He really is as near as sitting at this chair across from me...(our dining table in kitchen/dining area,2012)
“Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at meals…the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him…” (p.48)
Principle #8: “It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, because God would have us.” (p.44) note to self: it wasn’t pleasurable yesterday but so what – that is no reason to quit or get discouraged
Principle #9: He recognized how badly he needed God’s grace and assistance, so he “kept God in view” – not focused on seeing Him act, per say, but keeping Him in his view. (reminds me of “fixing your eyes on Jesus” – Paul)
“Ah! knew we but the want we have of the grace and assistance of God, we should never lose sight of Him – no, not for a moment.” (p.45)
Principle #10: This will feel like a waste of time – worse than that, that you should be engaging your duties and thoughts in other directions – you may feel you get nothing from this.
“Be not discouraged by the repugnance which you may find in it from nature; you must do yourself violence. At first one often thinks it lost time, but you must go on, and resolve to persevere…notwithstanding all the difficulties that may occur.” (p.47)
Principle #11: He had realistic expectations of himself in practicing this, AND of what God is pleased with.
“He (God) requires no great matters of us: a little remembrance of Him from time to time; a little adoration, sometimes to pray for His grace…” (p.48) “Everyone is capable of such familiar conversation w ith God, some more, some less. He knows what we can do…” (p. 48)
Principle #12: He BELIEVED (not necessarily FELT) that God was much nearer to us than we ever even think or experience.
“You need not cry very loud. He is nearer to us than we are aware of.” (p.48)
Principle #13: It can be this simple: “Accustom yourself, then, by degrees…to offer Him your heart from time to time in the midst of your business....” (p.49)
Principle #14: He recognized that wandering thoughts are nothing new, and that “our minds are extremely roving.”
“…bad habits of wandering…are difficult to overcome, and commonly draw us, even against our wills, to the things of earth…many words and long discourses (in prayer!) being often the occasion of wandering…” (p.50)
Principle #15: interesting, this one: Our desires can move faster than the actual grace He is giving you for this.
“She seems full of good will, but she would go faster than grace…” (p.51)
Principle #16:( this is from letter #14 – after letter # 15, to the same person, he took to bed and died two days later.) “Knock, persevere in knocking, and I answer for it that He will open to you in His due time, and grant you what He has deferred during many years.” (p.61)