I first read the book The Practice of the Presence of God when I was in college and trying to figure out what I believed and to have my faith grow up to be more than what I knew as a child. In the book, Brother Lawrence learns that he prays best not in the chapel, but while he is washing dishes in the monastery kitchen. When I first read the book the insight that you could pray while washing dishes was a helpful lesson for me. Before that prayer had always been what the minister did or what people did in church. That I could pray washing dishes or going for a walk or sitting on the porch helped me to learn what it meant to pray. For me to pray.
Now that I am older, I get praying while washing the dishes.
Praying then is easy.
There is something about the warm water and that simple act which slows me down and helps me to pay attention to the moment and to what I am doing which is something of what prayer is all about. I don’t need to learn to practice the presence of God in moments like that. What I need to learn is to practice the presence of God when I am on the phone for two hours with the customer service at Sears who want to send a third technician to look at our four year old refrigerator that has not been working now for two weeks or when I am being asked to jump through hoops because somewhere along the way someone thought that would be a good thing to ask everyone to do.
In other words, I need to learn to pray and to practice the presence of God in most of the other moments of my life.