I am reading “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. He was uneducated and served briefly as a footman and a soldier before becoming a Lay brother among the barefooted Carmelites at Paris in the year 1666. He saw his mission in life to constantly walk as if in Christ’s presence. He served his fellow monks and brothers from the monastery kitchen and saw God’s glory shining in the commonplace.
What struck me today was “that we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence by continually conversing with Him.”
That echoes what Paul said to the Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)
I determined to try to do that today. I had a couple of errands to run at Cresta, our nearest shopping mall. On the way is the Shoprite centre which caters mainly for the poorer people living in Windsor. I decided to explore. We usually just pop into Shoprite for something specific and don’t wander around the corner. I came across a coffee shop that will open on Saturday and was meanwhile serving cappuccinos for R20. I told the proprietor I would return after I’d done my shopping.
I tried to talk to the Lord as I walked around Cresta. I asked for His opinion on whether I should buy a set of three notebooks with a Bible verse on the cover. Of course, I did get distracted and forget my conversation but I found myself wandering around like a tourist in another country wanting to experience the new sights and sounds. Occasionally I’d pray for somebody as I walked past them.
I bought myself a flavoured fizzy water which I opened in the car before driving off to my cappuccino. It fizzed and volcanoed out of the bottle and over my dress and on the door of the car. The kind security guard saw what had happened and came to help me mop up. I saw that as a touch from the Lord.
I was the only person in the coffee shop and I managed to chat to Enoch, who was running it. He had a backer who had helped him and funded his little enterprise and he was excited about opening on Saturday. He said he prayed his business would go well and so I asked whether I could pray for him and his coffee shop and I did. His Fairtrade coffee was delicious and I will be back.
What could have been a stressful chore became a relaxed and interesting adventure.
I’d like to say that I spent the rest of the day in continual conversation with the Lord, but I didn’t. As soon as I got home I got into routine and went on with the normal process of my day, except when my sewing machine didn’t work and I prayed about it. Nevertheless, it’s a start and I shall continue trying to converse with the Lord in everyday things.
Thank You Lord, for a fun day. Thank You for for being with me through the security guard. Thank You for the people I met. I’d love to be in conversation with You as I do everyday things tomorrow. Please remind me. May I serve others as others have served me in the ordinary things. Amen.