This is a wonderful devotional. It will make you stop and think.
I received a complimentary copy from WaterBrook & Multnomah via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
If anyone knows how to practice the presence of Jesus, it's Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic since she was a teen. Tada takes the words of 17th century Bishop Lawrence and relates them to her life and the lives of her readers. She reminds readers of the unfailing, unchanging promises of God. A great read for any Christian!
The Practice of the Presence of Jesus
Daily Meditations on the Nearness of Our Savior
by Joni Eareckson Tada
Pub Date 24 Oct 2023
WaterBrook & Multnomah,Multnomah
I'm reviewing The Practice of the Presence of Jesus through WaterBrook and Multonomah and Netgalley:
As the beloved author of Joni weaves contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence, you'll experience the joy of intentionally dwelling in God's presence.
While the turbulence of 1600s France raged, Brother Lawrence lived through the drudgery of monastery kitchen duty. Joni Eareckson Tada broke her neck and got paralyzed in a horrible accident. As a result of this tragedy, she became a devout Christian and a disability advocate around the world, sharing her experiences of suffering with grace. Both of them found the secret to peace, joy, and being in constant conversation with the Father . . . every day and every hour . . . practiced God's presence.
These two everyday saints, more than 400 years apart, teach and inspire you to experience God's nearness in your life in The Practice of the Presence of Jesus. In this book, you'll get rich devotional content from Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God, along with original art and Joni's never-before-published insights. It's a unique blend of past and present wisdom on topics like humility, thankfulness, fear, worship, obedience, etc. You'll feel the peace of the Good Shepherd with every devotion.
I give The Practice of the Presence of Jesus five out of five stars!
This devotional book features short quotations from The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, with full devotional readings from Joni Eareckson Tada. A note at the beginning of the book introduces Lawrence's and Tada's life stories, and the book combines some of his classic words about faith with Tada's new reflections.
There are 110 short devotional readings in this book, and some of them include peaceful, nature-focused line drawings from Tada. This book is different from others that I have read before, since each reading starts with a quote from Brother Lawrence instead of a Bible verse, but Tada incorporates Scripture into her writing so deeply that each day's reading still feels Scripture-driven. The readings are quite brief, and each ends with a question for meditation.
I enjoyed Tada's conversational and expressive writing style, and this book is full of encouragement. The readings cover different topics, but primarily focus on connecting with God's presence in the midst of suffering and physical pain. Tada shares hard-won wisdom from her life as a quadriplegic, and shares how her difficult life has brought her closer to God. The spiritual truths in this book apply generally, but this book will be especially meaningful to other Christians with disabilities and/or chronic pain.
However, even though I enjoyed this book and appreciated Tada's perspective, I felt that this was longer than it needed to be, since some of the readings were repetitive and overly similar. Tada covers many of the same themes repeatedly in slightly different ways, and because the readings are so brief, there wasn't a lot of space for her to make them distinct. Because of that, I would primarily recommend this to people who are fans of Tada's work, or who personally relate to the repeated themes about physical pain and suffering.
I've never read anything written by Brother Lawrence. I enjoyed how author Joni Eareckson Tada included brief devotions from Brother Lawrence on the left side of the book, followed by Joni's commentary on the devotion on the right. The readings include 110. The book brilliantly integrates illustrations by Joni Eareckson Tada who created these incredible pen and ink drawings with her mouth.
I thought the book's introduction did a good job of summarizing Joni and Brother Lawrence's difficult path each has walked. I knew some of Joni's lot but I did not know Lawrence's. Both suffered immensely, to overcome the obstacles in their lives, they learned to rely on their faith and ongoing communication with their Lord. This book filled me with comfort, encouragement, and a new insight on life.
This simple technique of praying for Jesus' presence makes it easier for the reader to sense the ability we have to cling to joy and hope in the face of the daily grind. This frequently pulls us away from our true mission in life, which is to grow in our love for God and one another. Joni has a special way of expressing Jesus' love. I have always found her to be inspirational, and this new devotional provides even more positive insight.
Disclosure Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog https://psalm516.blogspot.com/
The Practice of the Presence of Jesus is a wonderful book, leading to further contemplate Jesus's presence in our lives.
A juxtaposition of two lives, The Practice of the Presence of Jesus explores the classic work by Brother Lawrence alongside the life of Joni Eareckson Tada, a Christian quadriplegic who has spent the past fifty years in a wheelchair. Both stories intersect at the point of a purposeful focus on knowing God.
Living with chronic pain, Tada has turned to Brother Lawrence’s example and his writing as a path toward peace and as an inspiration to find meaning in her mundane days of suffering. Through his example, she found words to express her own long endurance and the patience of finding God at work in everything.
For example, taking to heart Brother Lawrence’s practice of seeking to allow God to “possess [his] heart alone,” Joni has memorized “love words” for God, borrowed from the Bible, to fill her heart and calm her mind when she’s unable to sleep. Nearness to God heightens her awareness of her absolute neediness and God’s perfect loveliness.
Each entry includes a vignette from the writing of Brother Lawrence followed by reflections from Joni’s life and spiritual disciplines. This collection of daily meditations on the nearness of our Savior is a primer for 21st-century Christians who have not taken monastic vows nor been afflicted with paralysis and yet desire to make the daily choice to focus on Christ as their greatest treasure and fondest hope.
The Practice of the Presence of Jesus
Daily Meditations on the Nearness of our Savor
By Joni Eareckson Tada with John Sloan
This little devotional book packs quite a punch. It features 110 devotions with a quote from Brother Lawrence on one side and a meditation from Joni on the other. If you want to continue in self-pity or lukewarm Christianity, do not read this book!
I found it to be quite encouraging. Joni can speak with authority on the blessing of suffering. She shares her secrets of communion with Jesus in simple childlike terms. Though the selections are short, they leave the reader with much to ponder.
I highly recommend this book and I am grateful to the publisher for a complimentary copy for this, my honest review.
This book has been a blessing and a challenge to me. I appreciate the author’s transparent sharing of her own experiences and challenges in life and in her walk with God as these enable the reader to apply the Truth shared here to his/her own life. This is a book worth reading, meditating on, and digging into multiple times. I’m sure if I read it again, even right after finishing it, I would learn and glean different lessons each time. Having read the digital version, I am tempted to get a paper copy so I can hold it and mark in it. I highly recommend the resource for the challenge and encouragement it is to one’s faith.
I asked for a copy of this book for review, but the thoughts expressed here are wholly my own.
Joni Eareckson Tada is well known among evangelicals for her faith and courage amidst suffering. As is customary in her writings, one can see her utter dependence on God. This devotional book adds her thoughts to those of Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk. Each short chapter gently and succinctly challenges the reader to purposefully dwell in the presence of the Savior. A worthy addition to a Christian's devotional shelf.
First sentence: I love practicing the presence of my Savior in the dark of night when I cannot sleep. Rather than contend with anxiety, I empty out my heart and pour the beauties of Jesus into it. I fill it with love words for him, each borrowed from the Bible.
This is not the same book as the Practice of the Presence of God. Don't be fooled! Instead delight at this inspirational 'spin-off' of sorts. There are quotes from Brother Lawrence sprinkled throughout, but this is a new devotional book by Joni Eareckson Tada. There are over a hundred devotions.
I am not usually a fan of devotional books, key word being usually. But I am a BIG fan of Joni Eareckson Tada. I do love a good devotional book that is substantive spiritually. I don't like light, fluffy, superficial. This one was absolutely wonderful. It was an amazing read. One that I would highly recommend. I found it relevant and relatable.
True, God remedied our “mischief,” but, oh, at such a cost! So I practice the presence of Jesus every time I take sin seriously and refuse to sweep small sins under the carpet of my conscience. God forbid that I should ever call an offense against God “tiny” when it has caused my Savior unimaginable pain. May I never minimize the sin that made him suffer.
Expect to meet Jesus in your pain, and you most certainly will. For he has already entered that awful place ahead of you. He transformed it by his power and presence and came out the other side. He uprooted its dread and left it a place of resurrection and hope. So take a deep breath and step into your agony, anticipating that you’ll see Jesus.
It is a fight to trust Jesus. I must trust that everything my heart could ever long for is wrapped up in him and that he is far superior to anything the world offers. To not believe this is to demonstrate an utter lack of trust in my Savior.
God allows only those things that are designed to strengthen my soul, stretch its capacity for himself, and increase its hunger and thirst for the grace of Jesus.
If you are perplexed by the secret ways of God in your troubles, always filter them through Jesus, the Way that can be trusted … no matter what.
But Jesus wants to be bothered. It pleases him when we bring him our shame. Pain may insist that prayer will not “make it go away,” but prayer always engages me with the power and presence of Jesus Christ, who gladly pours out a deluge of courage, a reservoir of perseverance, a wellspring of endurance and patience, and a marvelous peace that goes far beyond my understanding. When I remember this, it brings Jesus pleasure. He smiles when I listen to his voice rather than the voice of my agonies.
Jesus doesn’t have what my soul needs; he is what I need.
The best thing you can do for yourself, as well as for the people around you, is to trust God. The harder things are, the better you make God look when you put your faith in him.
If my faith meant only what I believe about Christ in my mind, it would not be faith at all. Faith in Christ will always stay in the world of theory and shadows, ambiguous and hazy, until it is called forth and put to the grind. Faith needs exercise so that when someone asks me, “Who is this Jesus, and what do you believe about him, Joni?” I can confidently respond, “He is my fountain of joy in all my sufferings, and let me prove that by the way I trust him.”
The incomparably great power of Christ is within your grasp. So draw close enough to Jesus to reach out and touch the hem of his garment. He will give you power. Power to endure, hold on to hope, and find courage.
Jesus did not die to make us healthy but to make us holy. He came not to make us comfortable but to heal us of our propensity to sin. The best cures have to do with eschewing sin and drawing closer to Jesus Christ. It’s better than any amount of walking.
I grab my thoughts by the scruff of the neck; I push them into the pages of Scripture to give them a good dose of gospel truth. I show my idle thoughts who is the real boss of my soul, for I must not allow shiftless thinking to rule over me. I am like the psalmist who commanded his foolish musings, telling his soul, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42: 5).
Crisp devotional with a daily life-transforming message! Includes some beautiful illustrations! Thank you Joni!
I truly enjoyed reading Joni Eareckson Tada newest book. Brother Lawrence developed the Practice of the Presence of Jesus over 300 years ago, but his thoughtful and intentional daily engagement with Jesus is more important in today’s hurried world than ever!
Thank you for this book!
I received an ARC from NetGalley to read and give my honest review!
I have been a fan of Brother Lawrence's reminiscences in The Practice of the Presence of Christ for a long time. I am also so impressed with the strength and faith Joni Eareckson Tada and how she has lived the life God chose for her. So I approached the free preview I was offered of this book with high hopes--which can lead to disappointment. I'm delighted to say that this book exceeded my hopes. The additional perspective from Joni's years of contemplation add wonderfully to Brother Lawrence's thoughts, and bring them a bit more into our current culture. I can't recommend this highly enough. I will be posting this review enthusiastically the first day it's available for review on Amazon.
I read this due to really enjoying most things I've read by Joni.
I found it to be an "okay" devotional -- the bits at the beginning of each reading by Brother Lawrence are very short; often just a sentence or two. Next come Joni's thoughts, which form the "meat" of each short devotional.
I really loved "Spectacle of Glory," another daily devotional of Joni's that I've read several times. That one seems to have many "aha" thoughts. This one is still good, just not so many "wow" thoughts. Still, it's a decent devotional, particularly for those struggling with suffering in some way (which I suppose all of us are).
Joni has given readers a delightfully intimate book about what it means to be more Christ-like: how to abide, how to mourn one’s sins, and how to find joy in the presence of Christ. Drawing from the publication of Brother Lawerence, Joni’s reflections transcend epically into a truth-saturated read for the postmodern age.
In her newest book, Joni Eareckson Tada reflects on the writings of Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. With excerpts by Brother Lawrence on one page, and Joni’s thoughts on the other, this book is a guide for how we stay close to God in our everyday moments. Joni frequently refers to her struggles with chronic, severe pain, as well as her struggles with her paralysis, but with a focus on Jesus instead of on her suffering. She always points the way to Jesus and describes how she recites Scripture, prays Scripture, and cries out to God for strength and peace. One quote was especially powerful to me, “Suffering has a way of heaving you beyond the shallows of life where your faith tends to feel ankle-deep…a place where Jesus is the only One who can touch the bottom.” Her perseverance in spite of suffering and her examples of how to draw closer to God during difficult times are both inspiring and practical.
In this devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada, her meditations are based on the writings of Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk who lived in Paris in the 1600's. Though the two lived three centuries apart, their struggles and journeys of faith are oddly and strikingly similar.
Brother Lawrence, a soldier, was grievously wounded in combat. After trying other jobs, and failing at all of them, he entered a monastery seeking solace. It wasn't until a decade into his stay there, that he began to find the comfort he sought by focusing his attention on the presence of God in every moment of his day.
Joni Eareckson Tada, a high-school senior in the late 1960's, was greatly concerned about the sinful path she was on and from which she couldn't break herself free. She broke her neck in a diving accident and became a quadraplegic.
Both struggled morally; both suffered greatly. Each came to rely on their faith and constant communication with their Lord to get through the challenges of their lives.
Each of the short daily meditations is based on a quote of Brother Lawrence taken from his book of letters. The author then gives her modern day take on it. This is a book that would be helpful for any Christian struggling with his/her faith or going through a dark and challenging season of life.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found that it gave me perspective, inspiration and comfort. The author's pen and ink drawings (done by mouth) are amazing!! I highly recommend this book.
My sincere thanks to Multnomah who let me read a DRC of this book via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely given. Publication will be 10/24/23.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this devotional book.
This book was not really what I expected. The devotionals are rather short and I expected more from Joni and could have done with way less from Brother Lawrence.
When I buy a book from Joni, I expect to read Joni.
Would not recommend if you want a Joni Eareckson Tada devotional
One of my favorite devotionals is Joni's "More Precious Than Siver", so I knew this would be good too! Her insights are hard-won, of course, speaking to the depths of our own struggles. Through it all she keeps pointing us to the One Who can uphold us as no one else can.
I had never read "Practicing the Presence of God", so it is a double blessing of a book!