I’VE LONG BEEN a major fan of Carmelite Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (1614?-1691), who teaches in his book, The Practice of the Presence of God, that we can be in prayer all the time: while we are preparing food, teaching a class, caring for a child. Think of it as 17th-century multitasking.
But two years ago I learned some new facts about this same Brother Lawrence who practiced God’s presence: He also participated in formal, liturgical, corporate prayer eight times a day—eight times, every day. And then, he prayed without ceasing.
I began wondering why my experience of prayer was not more like the one he described. It’s like having been given a cake recipe that left out the part about turning on the oven.