Prayers from the kitchen
Sieves, funnels and whisks
Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen is the most multi-sensory. It’s a full on sensory experience. The obvious senses of taste and smell are at play but so are our visual and tactile senses and our sense of hearing.
If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll know that we have other senses and my favourite is proprioception which is the sense that grounds our bodies and gives us a sense of where we are in relation to the world around us. The kitchen is a great place for proprioceptive activities and my favourite is kneading dough.
For me, just being in the kitchen is a place that invites prayer. The time spent in the kitchen is often in food preparation or cleaning up after a meal. These tasks are part of the ordinary part of daily living. There’s the repetition of tasks that provide a rhythm for prayer accompanied by the sound of chopping or stirring or washing and so on. As we make use of produce from the land and sea, we are grateful for the abundance of creation. When we cook for others we have a sense of connection with those who will eat our food and as we clean up there’s a sense of making something anew and fresh again. All these things inspire prompts for prayer and space to pray as we work.
There’s not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God, those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)
I’m a big fan of Brother Lawrence. He was a monk living and working in a monastery kitchen in Paris in the 17th Century. Brother Lawrence turned the kitchen tasks of preparing and cooking food and washing dishes into spiritual tasks as he talked to God in constant prayer. His spiritual ways gained attention and people sought him out for his simple wisdom and his whole of life understanding of worship. His role was lowly and his living simple. I suspect he would be most surprised to know people are still reading his work four centuries later. The book ‘Practice of the Presence of God’ contains a mixture writings discovered after his death, letters he sent to others and four recorded conversations.
As this particular series for our Virtual Prayer Room is about items for creating a prayer kit, I’ve chosen my three favourite tools from the kitchen for prayer that you could include in a personal prayer kit, bulk purchase to use in group worship settings or use when you’re working in the kitchen. Really though, the options for using kitchen equipment or kitchen tasks for prayer are as limitless as your imagination.
May time spent in the kitchen this week be time spent in prayer for you.
On the journey
Read on for this week’s prayer ideas…
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