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Prayer, Plain and Simple

I love to eat, so this is wonderful – and dangerous – time of the year. The tastes, the aromas, the subtle textures, even the sight of food fascinate me. I suppose God could have packaged our necessary nutrients in vitamin pills, but he didn’t. He made kiwi fruit and brook trout and new red potatoes and honey and all the natural goodness combined to make a bowl of gourmet ice cream. “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” says the Psalmist. Indeed!

Food is a huge part of our lives, and it’s more than mere sustenance. A meal can instigate genuine fellowship with family friends and yes, even with God himself. Throughout the Bible sacred feasts provided a framework for memorable worship of God. In the gospels we read of Jesus repeatedly eating and celebrating with friends, enemies and even some questions sinners. He turns water to exquisite wine at a wedding banquet. He shared his last night on earth with friends around a special meal called Passover. God blesses food!  It is one of his many precious gifts to us. 

Sometimes I experiment with praying through meals. Our family often does the formal prayer before a meal but sometimes, when I remember to do so, and when I’m otherwise alone and have to catch a bite of something on the run between appointments I use a meal as a platform to breath a simple prayer to God. I believe God lives in me through his Holy Spirit. I believe my body is, as Paul the Apostle puts it, “The house of God.” Therefore, when I enjoy some luscious bit of food, God too is enjoying that with me. I can pause and not only thank him for giving the food, but I can also include him in the pleasure.

At this moment I’m enjoying a cup of splendid coffee flavored with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, cream and sugar. God made these things; I think he enjoys them with me. I’m speaking to him about that and using this simple moment as a way to connect.

“Good God, you have made many good things. Thank you for the gift of food. You share life with me and live through me. And as you enjoyed good food when you lived here on earth , so now as you live in me you can enjoy again the bounty of your creation. You have invited me to ‘taste and see’ that you are good. I do the same and invite you, as I enjoy the sweetness of your gifts to also, ‘taste and see’ and experience through me the wonder of your own gift. This is my act of worship, an expression of my gratitude and a simple gift I can offer you in return for your amazing graciousness. In Jesus…”

I’ve written a series of meditations called “21 Ways to Pray” – Down to earth, in-the-middle-of-life spiritual practices. Check it out and then add your own insights.

 

  

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