Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Discipleship Part XVII

Follow Me as I follow Christ - Photo by Firefigher with a Camera

In this series of posts, I am sharing some short thoughts from each chapter of Dallas Willard’s book The Great Omission and then some brief personal reflections.

Chapter Sixteen: Letters by a Mystic
I was touched by the list of themes that Willard pulled from Laubach’s Letters by a Modern Mystic. Submission to the will of God means cooperation with God in the moment-to-moment activities that make up our daily existence. This corporation is achieved through continuous inner conversation with God. That conversation in turn is, from our side, a matter of keeping God constantly before the mind. One learns to keep God constantly in mind by experimentation, by trying various experiential devices, until the habit of constant God-thought is established. Then God permeates the self and transforms its world and its relations to others into God’s field of constant action, in which all of the promises of Christ’s gospel are realized in abundance of life. It is possible for all people under all conditions to establish this habit if they make constant effort and experiment within their particular circumstances to discover how it can be done (199,2000).

My Reflections

This reminds me of brother Lawerence who learned to practice the presence of God in everything he did. He practiced God’s presence whether he washed dishes or shared the word. May God give me – us – the grace to live in such a way that practicing his presence is as natural as breathing to us.

7 Responses to Discipleship Part XVII

  1. Kevin says:

    Is this equivalent to being filled with the Spirit?

    Brother Lawerence’ s practice of the presence of God has yet to “click” for me – can’t get my mind around having God constantly on my mind…what am i missing?

    “Constant God-thought” is too daunting for me so I avoid it. Is it trying to “do” something instead of “be” somebody.

    Or maybe the doing leads to being?

  2. JR Woodward says:


    Hey man. Did I tell you I’m in Lansdale? I think I’m pretty close to where you grew up. What was the name of your hometown again?

    I like the way Dallas talks about this sense of God or God thought, in that it seems we all go about this in a slightly different way, probably depending on our gifts, personalities, experiences and understanding. Thus the focus on experimentation.

    I do think it is interesting that Paul often help people to understand who they are and what it means to be before he put a huge emphasis on dong. So in general I think doing flows from our being. But there are certainly some things I do even in order to be. Things I do by faith. That is some of my personal thoughts.

  3. Kevin says:

    Hey JR,

    Lansdale is where my mom grew up. I still have a lot of family there. Dillsburg is my hometown. You are about 2 hours away. Enjoy PA!

  4. JR Woodward says:

    Oh yeah, Dillsburg. I remember it had an interesting ring to it. Today is my last day. I’m checking out Bristol before I go back to D.C. then LA.

  5. Kevin says:

    its on the map.

  6. Arlene says:

    “One learns to keep God constantly in mind by experimentation, by trying various experiential devices”…I do think perhaps having mental illness in my family helps this be an easy thing to grasp…LOL..I think of this concept as being reflected in my friends who have been married for a while…& have a great marriage…they finish each others thoughts….they can confidently share what their spouse would do or think on things…they have gone from a me life to a we life..sometimes you don’t know where the one person starts and the other person ends..I think this all might come from time(years), sharing your life together(being together) and studying the other person…even when they are not there…what’s that song….”you are always on my mind?”…if it happens with someone you love down here why not with our Creator…so the practicals are….what did you personally have to do to keep thinking of that one person….to be mindful of them?…The answer to that question might help you with this area because it probably reflects who you are better than an equation posted here…Here’s some odd ideas..My engineer type friends are just way too focused and regimented so a device for them might be having an automatic e-mail/text message sent every day before they start work on a verse from the Bible or having scheduled in their planner” @ 2pm…before meeting, take walk to talk to God about meeting”..basically they have to have scheduled things to break away from their own way of thinking…somewhat….someone like me finds it easy to “keep God constantly in mind ” just by enjoying the beauty of anything outside, or a song can redirect my thought towards God..it is usually tied to my senses…some people learn to be mindful of God in the ordinary by physically carrying things of significant memories that bring them back to God…If you went to the park to sort things out and enjoyed time with God in prayer & reading the Bible…why not take a picture back to the office with you to remind you of your time( &God)…or a rock or shell from the lake/ocean as you reflected on God…just a thought

  7. Arlene says:

    There is a book…or rather a ton of book written on “Love languages”…I wonder if a person’s love language is somewhat tied to this concept….

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