In Review: Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed the Soul

Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed the Soul
by David Brazzeal

Review by Kim Long

As a woman who loves to cook I  admit from time to time I find myself in a rut, stuck you might say. My menu rotates and the same meals show up like clockwork. It feels a bit boring, unsatisfying, even unsavory. When this happens  I branch out and try a new recipe which may or may not eventually find its way onto the menu rotation.

Prayer can be a lot like my rotating menu. Certain times of the year I have “go to prayers,” certain situations have their own “recipe”and after a time these prayers can seem a bit stale, unsatisfying. These are the times I cannot taste my desire for communication with God.

I have always been told that books come to us when we are ready. Enter Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed the Soul. This is a sort of cookbook for feeding the spirit. Using the format of a cookbook, the author takes us through several categories of spiritual nourishment. As a cookbook offers suggestions for table settings, menu planning and troubleshooting this book does for prayer.  Brazzeal contends that prayer can be just as nourishing as a multi-course dinner.

An early quote states “Maybe your most intimate moments with God are akin to grabbing a cheap frozen dinner and tossing it in the microwave: bland, monotonous, predictable and uninteresting.” That may sound a bit drastic, but would one really serve God a microwave dinner?
Brazzeal reminds us that an intimate meal can become an encounter with the Divine.

I really enjoyed the section on lamenting. Here he says, “There are times when you need to allow yourself to be sad, when it is appropriate to lament. Instead of fighting that urge, encourage it, and not only encourage it but decide to do it well – intentionally create a time and space to lament. Keep in mind though lament is healthier when propped up by prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving.”

In another section on intersession, Brazzeal says, “Intercession provides a natural way to add just a smidgen of spiritual salt in just about any secular environment, even hostile ones. By offering to pray for a difficult situation, you let the other person know who to turn to when they really need prayer.” He continues “It gives us a chance to have a long-term impact on somebody’s life by interceding for them on a regular basis.”

Not every meal we eat will be a gourmet meal. Not every prayer we pray will be all encompassing. Sometimes we just need a “bite” of something. Brazzeal addresses that in the third section. He leads off with a quote from Origen, “He prays unceasingly who combines prayer with necessary duties and duties with prayer. Only in this way can we find it practicable to fulfill the commandment to pray always.”

Some possibilities include to set an intention before exercise, to offer short thank yous throughout the day, and I really like this one, “as I pause with my hand on the doorknob, ‘Your Spirit will remain with me throughout the day.’”

This book was fun to read since I enjoy preparing and eating food, but if you have never fried an egg or baked a pie, don’t despair, this book is for you too. This is not a book for women only! It is a fun and thought provoking journey through various types of prayer and its nourishment for the soul. In Corinthians 10:31 we are reminded that whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

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