Thou my daily task shalt give; Day by day to Thee I live; So shall added years fulfill, Not my own, my Father’s will. (Josiah Conder 1836)
If this were the last day on your job or the last day in your current home or the last day with a loved one, how would you live it? What would you notice or appreciate within each minute and each hour? Learning to live deliberately with God, to make our time with the Lord as important as these other significant experiences, is our “daily task.”
That’s because, as Brother Lawrence discovered, each minute in our lives is an opportunity to open our hearts to God’s “abiding Presence.” Wherever he went and during whatever menial task he was assigned, Brother Lawrence tried to maintain “an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God” (The Practice of the Presence of God, xi, 31).
I like to visualize God’s “abiding Presence” as it appeared when the Lord’s spirit blew through the room and blazed in people’s hearts on the day of Pentecost. They were assured, right then, that Christ was still going to be with them, would always be sustaining and comforting them. And that same Spirit of the Lord is by your side and my side right now, walking with us and talking to us, wrapping his light and love around us. But, just as Brother Lawrence realized in the 17th century, living in these right-now moments with a heart open to God takes practice.
I’ve found it helpful to pause before I race out to meet the day, to fall back and sit quietly and thoughtfully for a while. It’s kind of like offering an invitation, really, a way of saying, “Lord, this day, this moment, is yours.” Finding the time to live as Brother Lawrence described, living for God and in God and with God, is a daily challenge. And yet, when we open ourselves to these inspired moments, the whole direction of our life changes.