A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting some missionaries during a singlemoon trip I took to Paris a few months before getting married. Meeting them was life-changing for me because I unexpectedly got to experience firsthand how God was working in unique ways in the arts community in Paris. Every now and then I catch these reminders that God isn’t just working behind a pulpit. He’s working in hardened hearts in coffee shops…. he’s empowering workers of landfills… and he’s mending loneliness in the stay-at-home Mom. When I recently found out that one the missionaries had written a book on unique prayer and worship techniques using French culinary metaphors, I knew it would be a profound book in my faith journey. I took my time reading the book, and it was truly one of those I didn’t want to finish. I wanted to savor each page and impress it in my heart and mind. If growing in your relationship with the Lord is important to you, this book will help you discover new ways to connect with God as well as pray blessings for other people. This book will help you realize just how whimsical God is and how He is moving in our lives at all times. Today, I’m sharing with you an interview with the wonderfully talented author of the book, David Brazzeal. Since this is one of those books that I wish I could buy for every person I know, I’m going to use random.com to select a winner for a free copy of the book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below as to how you think this book will influence your prayer life. Happy Reading! I can’t wait for you to hear about the book!
Tell us a little about your background and missions experience. I grew up as a normal kid in Atlanta, GA. Later I studied music in Alabama and Texas where I obtained a master’s degree in Music Theory and Composition. My wife, Sanan and I have 4 wonderful daughters. We have done some sort of missions related to the arts since 1983 in Seattle, Rio de Janeiro, Guadeloupe, Montréal and Paris. During this time, we helped four churches get started and will soon get involved in another new church start in the southwest of France.
What prompted you to write a book?
Several things: One is that as I get older, I feel the need to share with others what I’ve learned from my journey. The area of personal prayer is where I’ve learned the most yet have rarely shared it. Another motivation comes from a long-time frustration that most churches do not help people with how to pray. We are told we should do it more frequently and with more faith and more fervency, but we hear very little about what to do when we pray.
How did you get the idea to talk about prayer using French dinner metaphors?
The basic idea for this book has been swirling around on the back burner of my mind for about 10 years. I’ve considered several cliché metaphors and weak titles, but nothing really seemed to click until I moved to France and experienced French dining on a regular basis. I don’t know when or how, but it dawned on me one day that this was the best metaphor for communicating how I had begun to re-imagine prayer for myself.
What is it about the concept of prayer that is so intriguing to you?
The thing that I find the most fascinating and mysterious about prayer is how we can move ourselves from an “I-don’t-feel-like-doing-this” kind of attitude immersed in the crud of everyday life to that special spiritual space where we actually experience and know once again “The God Who Is There”. The sad part is that the large majority of Christians I know don’t know how to do this.
You discuss several ways to worship and pray in Pray Like a Gourmet. What are two of your favorite prayer techniques you discuss in the book?
As I mention on page 47 under the title LITANIES, the oldest and most effective prayer practice for me has been the simple idea of improvising simple sentences using God’s names and his attributes, like “Lord, you are wonderful; God, you are glorious; Jesus, you are the Light of the world; Lord, you are the Sunrise on High, the Bright and Morning Star; God you are the Ancient of Days, etc.” I do this exercise slowly, quietly and as poetically and expressively as I can until I feel a shift or openness in my spirit. I guess my second favorite for the past few years has been blessing people either with carefully crafted written blessings (page 81) or with some kind of thoughtfully drawn visual blessing (page 82).
What can people expect to gain from reading your book?
First of all, I think readers of Pray Like a Gourmet will also find ideas that could take years or even a lifetime to develop but which are well worth the challenge. Secondly, I think people will recognize these new prayer concepts as parts of a very friendly, beautiful and continually developing menu. No one will be able to try them all on the first or even second visit. The book (along with God, I might add) patiently waits for us to come back again and again, each time our spiritual palette is ready and perhaps even hungry for a new taste.
What kind of feedback have you been getting on how it is changing prayers and individuals’ relationship with God?
The feedback has been amazing. I think the book surprises a lot of people, either by the beauty of the illustrations or by the practicality of the content. It’s not a normal book that you read once and put away or pass on to someone else. Many tell me that they plan to keep it close at hand so they can consult it often when they pray. However, the feedback that touches me the most are those who tell me that certain pages are tear-stained. The book seems to be very liberating to those who, for years, have felt boxed into traditionally prescribed prayer formulas. It is a very special privilege for me to help cater the banquet in that spiritually intimate space of others, the place where our spirit dines with the Spirit of the Living God.
For more information on David Brazzeal and to purchase Pray Like a Gourmet, visit Amazon. When you read it, consider leaving a review. Check out the book’s website so you can keep up with events and get some additional fantastic prayer resources. Also, be sure to “like” his Facebook page.