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Joined: 2006/9/23
Posts: 212

 Brother Lawrence?

Does anyone know much about 'Brother Lawrence'? Or has anyone read his book 'practising the presence of God'? Can we learn from him and his life or was he just another catholic mystic?

George Platt

 2006/10/16 14:26Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3147

 Re: Brother Lawrence?

I HIGHLY recommend the works of Brother Lawrence. If you love Tozer, you will love Brother Lawrence because they both loved God!

 2006/10/16 14:37Profile

Joined: 2005/4/19
Posts: 772

 Re: Brother Lawrence?

what is a catholic mystic? :-?


 2006/10/16 14:54Profile

Joined: 2006/8/10
Posts: 512


Yes! He truly walked closely with God. You can read "The Practice of the Presence of God" here:

I don't know how or why some "discernment ministers" lump him into the "contemplative meditation" category. The man prayed out loud almost constantly. If ever a person obeyed the command, Pray without ceasing, it's him. His was not silent prayer or meditation. If you read his work, you know what kind of devoted lover of Jesus he was. Lord bless each of you as you seek Him with all your heart.

 2006/10/16 14:56Profile

Joined: 2006/8/24
Posts: 59
Toronto, Canada

 Re: Brother Lawrence?

Hi Here4Him,

Yes I read his book some years back. It's actually more of a collection of letters that he wrote in instructing his friend in prayer than a "book". The main point is that we are to pray without ceasing and that God is present with us all the time and to be mindful of that. He took that to heart and made a point of focusing on that truth on a daily basis. The book shares his insights as he was growing in this area.

It's a good book to read but the only thing that left me a bit frustrated was that as a monk Brother Lawrence spent his work duty in the kitchen peeling potatoes and he spent this time in prayer while he worked. I dare say it's a whole lot easier to practice the presence of God in a quiet monastary kitchen than in a busy office with phones ringing off the hook. I found myself thinking when I finished the book, "Easy for him!"

I think it's still worth the read though.



 2006/10/16 21:03Profile

Joined: 2004/9/10
Posts: 32

 Re: Brother Lawrence?

Hi "Here for Him",
I have had never heard of Brother Lawrence until
I heard Tozer mention his name in one of his sermons and this motivated me to read his book,I count it a blessing to have it in my book collection and I carry it in my car.
I know after reading it I asked the LORD to help me be more aware of His Presence in my life.
Praise be to Jesus.

Jaime Romero

 2006/10/17 1:37Profile

Joined: 2004/3/31
Posts: 901
Melbourne, Australia



MSeaman wrote:
what is a catholic mystic? :-?

Catholic Mystics were a mixed bag. Essentially they were those of the Roman Catholic faith who stressed "Mystical Union", that is coming to the point of intimacy with God where it is hard to tell where we end and He begins (although this is a really crude way of putting it). Most of the preachers that have been of greatest blessing, including Tozer, Chambers, Reidhead, Wesley, amongst others, have been greatly influenced by the likes of Guyon, Fennelon, Lawrence, Boehme, and Law (although the last two weren't Catholic). To get a good idea of the kind of things that they taught, Norman Grubb is probably the best to check out.

For all the good that these mystics did for the Body of Christ, there were others such as Anne Catherine Emmerich who unleashed teachings that stressed Marian Worship and emphasised Transubstantiation (ie, RC Eucharist..bread BECOMES body, wine BECOMES blood). It was Emmerich's book "The Dolorous Passion of Christ" that inspired Mel Gibson's "The Passion", and although many a division has come from varying opinions of this movie, the book is heavily Roman.

Based on my limited understanding of the mystics, I think that it's mostly a case of "grew up in the wrong century". Many were imprisoned because their teachings cut across the grain of the standard Papal rubbish of their time. I'm often reminded of the fact that both Martin Luther and Francis Xavier were Dominican Priests, however one sparked the Protestant Reformation, while the other sought to end it. Perhaps it's like many of us who, in spite of being frustrated with the apparent apostasy our denominations and fellowships, are forbidden to leave by our Master.

One thing is for certain, for the most most part, these people knew God, in ways that have been long forgotten and/or neglected. It could be said that as the most eclectic Jazz is to the musician, so the writings of the mystics is to the theologian. Much of what they say fall on deaf ears as either stupidity or offensiveness (sounds a bit like the cross;-)), while only those who have come to the end of reading all the saccharin attempts to explain away things that don't fit into the various "theological categories" can tolerate the bittersweet flavour, that is reminiscent of the finest chili or curry dish, that would have children running for a pitcher of water. Alexander Whyte commenting on Boehme's writings states:

Though there is a great deal of needless and wearisome repetition in Jacob Behmen’s writings, at the same time there is scarcely a single subject in the whole range of theology on which he does not throw a new, an intense, and a brilliant light. In his absolutely original and magnificent doctrine of God, while all the time loyally true to it, Behmen has confessedly transcended the theology of both the Latin and the Reformed Churches; and, absolutely unlettered man though he is, has taken his stand at the very head of the great Greek theologians. The Reformers concentrated their criticism upon the anthropology and soteriology of the Church of Rome, and especially upon the discipline and worship connected therewith. They saw no need for recasting any of the more fundamental positions of pure theology. And while Jacob Behmen, broadly speaking, accepts as his own confession of faith all that Luther and Calvin and their colleagues taught on sin and salvation, on the corruption and guilt of sinners, and on the redeeming work of our Lord, he rises far above the greatest and best of his teachers in his doctrine of the Godhead. Not only does he rise far higher in that doctrine than either Rome or Geneva, he rises far higher and sounds far deeper than either Antioch, or Alexandria, or Nicomedia, or Nice.

For more on the Mystics, check out some of their works:
[url=]Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fenelon[/url]
[url=]Madame Guyon[/url]
[url=]Jacob Behmen (Jakob Boehme)[/url]
(Check out, also [url=]Jacob Behmen an appreciation[/url] by Alexander Whyte)
[url=]William Law[/url]

Aaron Ireland

 2006/10/17 7:29Profile

Joined: 2005/4/19
Posts: 772


I have read part of Madame Guyon's biography. and it was interesting to me. I see that she used every hard thing in her life to pull in closer to Christ. It is interesting to see someone actually live that way.

I wasn't sure if her experience (and it didn't seem strange or flaky to me) was something that would be seen as strange or flaky like some of the weirdness going on today in the name of God.

Thank You CJaKfOrEsT for the explanation! :-D


 2006/10/17 8:56Profile

Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2648
Nottingham, England

 Re: Mystics

I have to admit, I have the book by brother Lawrence, but I only read half the book. For some reason I could not read the rest. Let's face it, it's a very short book. But I just could not read it.

Something about it just didn't feel right.

Sorry I can't quote any scripture about the way I felt about the book, other than Romans 14v23 which says, 'But he who DOUBTS is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith, for WHATEVER is not from faith is sin'.

This scripture speaks in regard to food, but goes on to say whatever, meaning everything.

With that, I'll close.

God bless.

 2006/10/17 9:12Profile


Dear CJaKfOrEsT,

Thank you for all that. Jacob Behmen may be kin to me. I'm off to read him, to find out.

:-D :-D

 2006/10/18 7:52

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