Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: Pray Like a Gourmet

I am not a gourmet cook. I can put together a decent meal that my family enjoys, but it is never anything fantastic. My husband, however, is a gourmet cook. I look forward to every meal all summer long, because Mark is home and he cooks. He takes the simplest ingredients and makes something delectable.

I thought about this as I read Pray Like a Gourmet. I want to look forward to prayer. I don’t want prayer to be a monotonous dull duty. I want to enjoy it, to taste its different flavors and treasure my time with the Lord. Prayer is communication with the Creator. Prayer can be creative!

Is there something in your spirit that keeps telling you it should be different: more interesting, more engaging, more creative, more profound? Does your prayer life feel like you’re eating the same food over and over every day—mixing the same ingredients but hoping for a new, more enticing dish? (page 7)

Author David Brazzeal seeks to expand our prayer palettes. He describes different kinds of prayer:
Adoration or praise
Supplication or asking

As the author explores each type of prayer, he shares exercises and examples to put them into practice right away. I really appreciate his approach. He does not describe the different types with the goal of checking off every box every day. It’s more like a menu: these are available, what do you and God need to talk about today? And how can you enter into that prayer with creativity and expectation?

The book is beautiful—full of colors and sketches. There are ideas for praying alone and praying in a group. This paragraph caught my attention:

There really is a natural interplay between my spirituality and my creativity. When I enter into a spirit of prayer, I can cultivate a receptive space and actually ask God for creative ideas that will enhance my praying. Then, these creative practices allow me to enter into the spiritual space even more quickly and deeply. The result is a spiraling effect leading to ever-expanding dimensions, encompassing both deeper spirituality and heightened creativity. (page 23)

This is a nourishing book for my own prayer time, but it would be a fun and thought-provoking book to discuss in a group, especially over a great meal.

…Prayer, like the grace of God, is new every morning. The way we pray can morph itself to our emotions. It adapts itself to our agenda [and, I would add, to God’s agenda!]. It flows into our real-world, here-and-now realities. It blows through shut windows, locked doors, and closed countries…It nourishes our souls like nothing else. (page 174)

The author sent me a copy of Pray Like a Gourmet and asked me to review it. This simple review today is just the beginning as I dive into this book over the summer. I will be looking at each type of prayer in more detail. This book deserves more than just a read-through--although it is certainly an enjoyable read. I'm going to savor a chapter a week. 

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