Coram Deo is a Latin Phrase which means “before the Face of God.” It was used by Christians in the 16th Century. But what does it mean to live before God’s Face? Well I am sure there are many definitions but my description is that we live in such a way that we are constantly aware that He sees who we are, everything we do, and our motives behind our words and actions. It all takes place in His Presence—before His Face. And being aware of this we strive to the best of our ability to be certain that we see God’s approving smile.
There are many passages in Scripture that speak of living in God’s presence. But I am referencing just two: Hosea 6:2 says, “He will restore us that we may live in His presence.” And then Psalm 105:4 reads, “Carefully search for the Lord and His strength; continually and eagerly seek His presence.”
One Sunday morning many months ago my pastor (thank you Pastor Dan) spoke of a monk, Brother Lawrence, who served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris beginning in June 1640. I was intrigued and found some of his writings and letters online. Oh my gosh what a treasure trove of life changing and inspired dedication. I am sharing some of Brother Lawrence’s thoughts. These are taken from a book entitled, “The Practice of the Presence of God”:
“I make it my priority to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I maintain a simple attention and a fond regard for God, which I may call an actual presence of God. Or, to put it another way, it is an habitual, silent, and private conversation of the soul with God. This gives me much joy and contentment.”
And then Bro Lawrence shared what I feel was perhaps his prescription for total surrender and secret for abiding in God’s Presence: “My God, here I am all devoted to You, Lord, make me according to Your heart.” Oh Dear reader take a moment to ponder this with me—feel it in your core—what powerful changes might be wrought in our souls if we made that our prayer each morning—what profound miracles of shift in our perspective might result from a daily prayer to be continually, intentionally, and consciously living before the Face of and in the presence of God. Kind’ve gives you chills!!!
I am including a portion of the lyrics to a song that deeply touch me every time I sit down at my piano to play and sing it. Honestly it is hard for me to get through it without tears filling my eyes because I find the words so potent and the melody just as beautiful and moving. It is entitled, “In The Presence of Jehovah” (written by Geron and Becky Davis):
In and out of situations that tug of war at me,
All day long I struggle for answers that I need.
But when I come into His presence,
All my questions become clear.
And for that sacred moment,
No doubts can interfere.
In the presence of Jehovah God Almighty, Prince of Peace,
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended,
In the presence of the King.
(A trio called “The Martins” have a lovely rendition. You can hear it on YouTube)