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Pray Like a Gourmet
Creative Ways to Feed Your Soul
David Brazzeal

Paraclete Press
April 2015 / ISBN 978-1612616278
Nonfiction / Inspirational / Religious

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern


Praying like a gourmet means metaphorically moving beyond meat-and-potato prayers. The author equates gourmet praying with various activities associated with food, including planning, preparation, cooking, dining, and cleaning. Divided into three parts, the first part prepares the food and sets the table and the third part concludes the gourmet meal and clears the table. The longest and strongest section is part two in which the different types of prayer are analyzed – praising, thanking, confessing, blessing, observing, lamenting, meditating, contemplating, asking, interceding, and joining – with creative examples of how to experiment with these different styles.

Alternative ways of praying might be using your body for a dance of praise, writing simple poetry to thank, breathing exercises for confession, drawing a picture of someone to bless, going on a walk in the forest to observe, and so forth. Woven among the how-to-pray advice are stories about the author’s travels, his spiritual journey, and occasional stories from the Bible. Although the personal anecdotes usually relate directly to the material, they are among the less-essential information.

Designed with attractive splashes of color and whimsical illustrations by Willemijn de Groot, this book has a professional look and feel, and provides a smooth easy read. The prayer exercises could be practiced over a few weeks or a few years, depending upon your dedication to fully exploring new ways of praying. While the food-prayer connection often works well (“Just as the taste of simple food is utterly delectable after a long fast, so was this simple new spiritual practice. But I found myself hungry for even more”), the metaphor sometimes feels a little forced. The second part of the book, which is devoted to the actual courses, provides fewer food references than the other two sections, and readers may be so engrossed in the creative prayer techniques they forget about the food analogy altogether – until they reach part three.

For readers seeking intriguing new ways to pray beyond what traditional religious schools may have taught, Pray Like a Gourmet offers a variety of fresh ideas, all carefully prepared and beautifully presented.

Reviewer Leslie C. Halpern is the author of Passionate About Their Work: 151 Celebrities, Artists, and Experts on Creativity, Rub, Scrub, Clean the Tub: Funny Children's Poems About Self-Image, and Shakes, Cakes, Frosted Flakes: Funny Children's Poems About Table Manners.
Reviewed 2015