Silent Treatment

“Are we going to talk about it, or are you going to pout about it all day?” Lynne asked from the doorway. With that comment, I decided I was going to pout some more. I was an expert at giving Lynne the “silent treatment” when we had a disagreement. I like to think that I am beyond that now, but Lynne may have her own opinion.

Which makes me wonder how God feels when I give him the “silent treatment?” It’s not that I deliberately ignore Him. Now that I’m retired (kinda sorta) Lynne and I are around each other most days. If I were to act as if she weren’t there, it would make for an awkward atmosphere around the ol’ homestead. If I’m honest, that’s the way I treat God most days, as if He were not there. It often happens because too many Christians have a fundamentally flawed understanding of prayer. Prayer is not just, “Now I lay me down to sleep” or “Thank You for the food in which we are about to partake.” Prayer is conversing with God, a dialogue with Him throughout the day. The Apostle Paul tells us we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV). That is not as impractical as you might think.

There is a book titled “Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence (1614-1691), a Carmelite monk. I know your first thought is going to be that a monk spends his day in prayer, and that is not practical. Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen, so his day, much like ours, was one of going about the daily tasks of his job. In the First Conversation, Brother Lawrence told the listener,

“That we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him”

and

“That we ought to give ourselves up entirely to God, with regard both to things temporal and spiritual, and seek our satisfaction only in the fulfilling of His will, whether He leads us by suffering or by consolation; for all would be equal to a soul truly resigned.” [1]

Brother Lawrence took to heart the exhortation of the Apostle Paul with regard to the way we do our secular work.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23, ESV)

If I am not keeping God in my thoughts throughout the day, my attitude and actions can be less than God-honoring. Like little children who act differently when their parents are not around, we may spiritually “misbehave” when we lose awareness of God’s Presence.

This is Brother Lawrence’s advice for practicing the Presence of God:

“That in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.” [2]

It just takes some practice, like any other task we undertake, except this one leads us to a place where “’we should find His love inwardly excite us.’ Walking in a sense of His Presence will keep us from giving Him the ‘silent treatment!’” [3]

What say you, Man of Valor?

Adapted from Men of Valor Devotional by Ron Helle, 23 February 2024


Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God, First Conversation. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. https://ccel.org/ccel/lawrence/practice/practice.iii.i.html

[2] Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God, Second Conversation. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. https://ccel.org/ccel/lawrence/practice/practice.iii.ii.html

[3] Ibid.

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