Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunévillein the region of Lorraine, located in modern day eastern France and as a young man went into the army due to his poverty. At the age of 18 he received what he felt was a revelation of the providence and power of God. He went on to fight in the Thirty Years' War and later served as a valet, but within six years joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris.
Nicholas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection." He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for many of these years and as a repairer of sandals in his later years.
Despite his lowly position in the life of the priory, his character attracted many to him. He had a reputation for experiencing profound peace and visitors came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom he passed on to them in conversations and in letters would later become the basis for the book The Practice of the Presence of God.