Chattin’ with the Creator
—a pathway to deeper love and wisdom
I wonder what it would be like to sit down with God and have a chat—face-to-face. What it would be like to hold his hands as we gaze into his face and hear the tone of his voice vibrating in our ears as he speaks to us?
In his seventeenth-century book, The Practice of the Presence of God, lay monk Brother Lawrence tells us he set out to do just that. He figured if God were real, then while he might not be able to physically touch God’s skin, he could at least establish a relationship with God where he and his Maker talked and listened to each other.
Alone in meditation, Brother Lawrence asked God questions as a way of communicating with him. He then sat quietly and listened, waiting to hear the answers.
“Who are you, God?” he’d ask the Creator.
And in the silence of his heart, he’d hear a gentle whisper respond,
“I am the Creator who formed you. The One who loves you immensely.”
“Who am I, God?” he’d ask.
“You are my son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Brother Lawrence admitted he wasn’t sure if he was hearing God’s voice or his own. So, he asked his spiritual mentor whether he could trust the conversations. His mentor instructed him that if the conversations drew Brother Lawrence closer to God and God’s love for him and others, then he could trust them regardless of where they came from.
Brother Lawrence called this way of conversing with God Practicing the Presence of God because he intentionally drew his attention to God’s presence as often as he could both during meditation and throughout the active part of his day. He said it was like having a wise friend to talk with all day long.
As he prepared lunch in the monastery he’d talk with God.
“Thank you, Lord, for my hands that are able to peel these potatoes, which will feed my brother monks. Thank you for the water that flows from this tap and allows me to cleanse this food I am preparing.”
Sometimes Brother Lawrence wouldn’t hear a response from God. At those times, he’d just rest in the silence. Other times he would hear in his heart a quiet voice of love.
“Thank you for being the hands that feed my monks.”
Inspired by Brother Lawrence, I incorporated this practice into my own daily Quiet Time. I soon found I could bring any question into the silence, hold it in my heart, and ponder it with God. And often the answer would arise as a guidepost, as an inner source of wisdom.
“What do I do with this negativity, this grumpy, grumbling old man who seems to live in my head and overwhelm me at times?” I ask God when I fall into a dark mood.
“Focus on what you’re grateful for, Brian. What are five things you’re thankful for today?” the answer arises.
And so, I do. I make a gratitude list in my head.
“I’m thankful for you God, for my wife, my children, my friends, and my life.”
Like Brother Lawrence, I’m not sure if it’s God’s voice or mine I hear in the silence of my heart from time to time. But I have learned to trust that voice because it comforts and guides me. It has a familiar loving tone to it. I feel like I have a deepening relationship with the voice of love that speaks ever so softly within me.
And the place where I often hear that gentle whisper is in my heart. The heart, the wisdom teachers have instructed for centuries, is far more than a pump that circulates blood throughout our bodies. The heart is also the location of our spirits, our souls, and God has given our hearts an innate ability to communicate with him through what modern scientists call the “heart brain.” (See, research at: the heartmath.institute). It’s this heart-brain through which God and humans interconnect.
“I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus says in scripture. “My sheep know my voice and follow it.” Perhaps listening to the voice of love in our hearts and chattin’ with the Creator is the pathway, that narrow gate Jesus points to.
—brian j plachta
For a guided meditation click this link to the You Tube Video: Guided Meditation