I’d read his little book before, seeking his “spiritual secret,” his “method” of living close to God.

What he outlined seemed so simple. Yet “trying it,” I’d failed miserably, and so figured he must have just been some special kind of saint.

But last fall, when I picked up our tattered copy of The Practice of the Presence of God, suddenly several “little things” beamed forth as “key” — details that evidently flitted right past me before.


Context is important — and I now believe the context of Brother Lawrence’s life played large part in bringing forth his “practice’s” sweet and glorious fruit.

So these days, when afternoons grow hot and I grow sluggish, I hope to take (iced) tea with not only my dear Lord, but Brother Lawrence’s book as well, and pay close attention to details previously disregarded.

One each day. Only. To ponder its effect on the man’s life and relationship with God. Then maybe share here my thoughts and responses — something like weekly?

Today, how he saw trees …..

We don’t always miss “the forest” by considering individual trees. Brother Lawrence looked at just one tree — closely — and thereby “got” the message of the forest.

One day, at age 18 (early 1600’s), he gazed at the everyday… and grasped the everlasting.

It was a time of deadness. A vista of bare limbs, gray and stark, were all the hardwood forest had to offer human eyes. And his spiritual vision was still dim. Inside he felt dead like the trees looked. And he was.

But he had known spring’s wonder. And as he gazed upon bare branches, the thought of them in warming time began to warm his heart. He testified that…

“… seeing a tree stripped of leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear,

“he received a high view of the providence and power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.

“…This view had perfectly set him loose from the world, and kindled in him such a love for God that he could not tell whether it had increased during the… years he had lived since.”

This was not how I’d remembered it. My vague recollections mumbled something about him seeing a leaf turning over. And from there my mind skipped away, supposing he’d just given extra weight to some quirky experience.

But He was far from thinking of turning over the new leaf of some better habit. His thoughts were knowingly or unknowingly sunk deep into Colossians’ mysterious concept of  the old man is dead, long live new life in Christ — about life replacing deadness, to grow vibrant and glowing and flowering and fruitful.

So, truths to consider now:

A heart’s conversion and spiritual growth is a work of God (John 3:5-8; Col 1:9-13; 2:13-15).

Brother Lawrence’s active role in this pivotal happening was…

beholding “a tree stripped of leaves”

pondering the renewal of coming spring.

Things he received (passive) — and from where but from God?…

“a high view of the providence and power of God”.

getting “perfectly set… loose from the world,”

“and [getting] kindled in him such a love for God”

So, if I want to be able to relate more closely with God, don’t I need to look to and petition Him? Don’t I need His help?

Seems like that’s Step One: Look to Him. And ask.


Today’s post continues a thought thread on “dressing” for Christ-living — of abiding, wrapped up in Him. Previous posts following the theme:

Forest, Trees. Who Sees? {Conquering Sinful Behaviors and  Attitudes}

Sure Cure

How Really to Dress for (Spiritual) Success



(Continuing the Count)

From Isaiah 61:

212 – Because He heals the brokenhearted

213 – Because He proclaims liberty to the captives, and the opening of all kinds of prisons to those who are bound

214 – Because He has brought about the acceptable year of His favor

215 – Because He will bring about His Day of Vengeance

216 – Because He provides comfort for all who mourn in Zion

217 – Because He gives beauty to replace ashes

218 – Because He gives the oil of joy for mourning

219 – Because He gives the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness

220 – Because He does all this so that His own may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified!

221 – Because He replaces shame with double honor

222 – Because He replaces confusion with rejoicing

223 – Because He loves justice

224 – Because He hates robbery for burnt offering

225 – Because He will direct the work of His own in truth

226 – Because He makes and keeps an everlasting covenant

227 – Because He clothes His own in garments of salvation

228 – Because He covers His own with a robe of righteousness

229 – Because He adorns them as a bride is adorned with her jewels

230 – Because as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden makes the things sown in it to spring forth, so the LORD God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.



Linked to

Word-Filled Wednesday at the Internet Cafe


18 thoughts on “How Brother Lawrence Saw the Trees

  1. I found your space through Laurie. She is a friend of mine also 🙂 and she shared your space with me. He states, you do not have because you have not asked. Ask and you shall receive. When I feel as if I am at the end of my endurance…I ask and He always gives.

    Excellent post! I’m glad that our friend shared your space with me today.


    1. Hi Maria. Nice to “meet” you! Maybe I’ll get to meet you in person someday! So glad you stopped and commented. (Been thinking of Laurie, and was just getting ready to email her!) Yes, how often we go through such trouble, because we (I) didn’t just stop and ask Him!

  2. Wonderful post! I think I might need to read that book. There’s something about beholding and pondering that He can do something with, isn’t there? I think that’s why counting 10,000 reasons has helped me. When I read about who He is, then think about it, He can take that and use it to help me know Him more – all His gift, to give or to withhold. I can’t cause myself to get it, only make myself ready in case He decides to give, ask Him to give, beg Him to give, wait patiently for Him to give. So much truth in this. Thank you for sharing!

    1. It’s a great little book, Mary. But I’d advise, don’t rush through it like I must have! Slowly, bite by bite. And I find the same thing about counting the reasons to praise. The best part of it is how it focuses me on Him, His attributes, His amazing blessed works! Thanks for commenting!

  3. This made me think of Mark Buchanan’s book Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul. He talks of the “dead/bleak” seasons where, if we yield to the teaching, we can explode with growth come springtime.

    I love that you will be going through this book weekly. I, like you, have read it before with little inspiration. I think I am in a more receptive place these days and will enjoy this with you.

    Enjoying the warmth of spring,

    1. I don’t know that Mark Buchanan book, Dawn. I will have to scare it up for summer (or winter?) reading. (I laugh at the “summer reading” lists. Summer is my crazy-busiest time!) Let’s pray for some real inspiration from Bro. Lawrence’s life and words, shall we? I’m thinking God’s going to be giving that, if we slow down, tune in, and apply.
      Blessed spring to you, too!

  4. Oh, I think I must find a copy of this intriguing book. I live in a forest… Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this gem 🙂

    1. “I live in a forest.” I guess you mean literally, Ms. Kathleen. I always wanted to, but have the next best thing, little patches of woods here and there, right around me. And I’m often living in, or lost in, the woods figuratively! Learning to see the forest AND the trees. Thanks for visiting!

  5. This concept has been my focus for a few years…when I’ve got it, my relationship with God comes into 3D. What a gift to read about it from you today!

    BTW, the most helpful book on this subject for me has been from LeAnne Payne, a book called Listening Prayer. She teaches practising the Presence of of God in all of her books and says that it is the center of where her ministry comes from.

    Blessings on the deepening of your Practice…and pray for mine!

    1. Yes, Summer, that is the best idea: praying for one another’s Practice deepening — just the kind of prayer Paul would be praying for us! I’m not familiar with LeAnne Payne. I will have to find that book. I really like that title Listening Prayer. That is what I try to do in my prayer times — if I have my focus right and have not let myself get distracted!
      BTW, I have trouble with my own reCaptcha. Gotta figure out how to disable the thing! Even when I reply the way I am now, my own comment replies come through as “spam,” and I have to un-spam them to make them appear. So don’t feel bad about that! 🙂

  6. Such a joy to read about Brother Lawrence today…I just know we are kindred spirits!…in a theological way 🙂

    It’s LeAnne Payne’s book, Listening Prayer, that brought this practice into high relief for me. She says that this is the center of her ministry and makes me thirsty whenever I read it.

    Blessings on your practice…and please pray for the deepening of mine!

  7. Sylvia – I have never read that book, although I’ve heard much about it. Adding it to my reading list. The part you wrote about goes so well with my post. It is often through nature (His creation) that I feel God’s presence the most.

    Thanks for linking up this week and many blessings to you.

    1. And thank you, Joan, for offering that link-up. Without those, we’d be pretty much without blogging community, wouldn’t we? And yes, truly, His creation reveals so much about Him and His truths. It’s so pleasant to sit amid it in quiet and reflect!

  8. Wonderful reflections…I love Bro.Lawrence’s book and it helped me that he does mention somewhere in the book that it took him many years of practice before he experienced Christ the way he did later.

    1. Yes, Dolly, that’s one of those “little” things I didn’t take notice of, when reading it, long ago. Thanks!

Comments are now closed.