Brother Lawrence (c. 1614 - February 12th, 1691) was a Carmelite monk, who is today most commonly remembered for the closeness of his relationship to God as recorded in the classic Christian text, The Practice of the Presence of God.
Brother Lawrence was born Nicholas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunéville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern day eastern France. He received a revelation of the providence and power of God at the age of 18, but it would be another six years before he joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris. In this intervening period he fought in the Thirty Years' War and later served as a valet.
Nicholas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection". He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for most of his life and as a repairer of sandals in his later years.
Yet despite his somewhat lowly position, his character attracted many to him. He was known for his profound peace and many came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom that he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. This work was compiled after Brother Lawrence died by one of those whom he inspired, Father Joseph de Beaufort, later vicar general to the Archbishop of Paris. It became popular among Catholics and Protestants alike, with John Wesley and A. W. Tozer being among those who recommended it.
The Practice of the Presence of God (Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Public Domain)
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