Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Book Review: Pray Like a Gourmet
Reviewed by Kerry Greenhill
I am a prayer book junkie. I love books on prayer and spirituality – I love buying them, love reading them, and sometimes I even put them into practice. Sometimes. So while I liked the premise of Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed Your Soul, I didn’t expect to learn much that was new, or gain insights I hadn’t heard before. I was pleasantly surprised.
The extended metaphor of prayer as a meal we can enjoy in God’s company works on many levels. I have to admit, the first couple chapters I was resisting the author’s style and found it a little cheesy. But that may say more about my inherent skepticism than a flaw in the writing.
The insight I found most intriguing is the idea that you can plan your prayer time – like a menu – based on types of prayer (praise, confession, lament, joining, etc.) and modes of expression (writing, music, movement). I realized that my unexamined expectation was that you schedule your prayer time, then it just happens – maybe with words, maybe with silence, but spontaneously, as the Spirit leads. I like the idea that the Spirit can lead you through planning a richer, more diverse, and more creative combination of approaches than whatever your default is.
I also appreciated the specific suggestions for how to experiment with the different types and modes of prayer. There are lots of ideas for practical application here, along with sound theology that leaves room for readers of a variety of perspectives.
I love the high-quality paper and full-color artwork that graces the pages. One minor frustration was that some of the text is in yellow or orange, making it difficult to read. Fortunately, these are generally only a word or phrase here and there, so it doesn't interfere significantly with the book's readability.
Ultimately, I found Pray Like a Gourmet to be an interesting, accessible read that would work well for individual or group study. I commend it to all who are seeking to expand or deepen their prayer life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.