Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baking With Prayer

"She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands." Proverbs 31:13

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18

"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers." 1 Thessalonians 1:2

I've been in the mood to bake lately. This is a great thing, because for some time there, I wasn't in the mood to cook anything- let alone go through the sometimes tedious process of baking. Part of the baking bug is that a few times over the last few months I've had occasions to give a small gift to someone, and with Andy not working, gift giving is not a priority. But I can bake.

It started with a loaf of bread. I decided to bake up a loaf of artisan bread for someone special to us, and as I was working and kneading the dough with my hands, it struck me that I should pray for them while I kneaded. So I did. This particular loaf of bread takes about 12 minutes to knead, so that was quite a bit of praying! So I baked and I prayed, and of course the bread was truly appreciated.

Then a few weeks later, someone else was having a birthday. As I thought about this person, and wondered what we could do for them to honor them on their birthday, it occurred to me to ask them what their favorite cookie was. So I did, and then promptly went home and baked up a few batches of cookies for them. The thing is, I wasn't just baking cookies. The whole time I was mixing the dough and scooping dough onto cookie sheets, and then removing cookies from cookie sheets, I was aware that I was baking these cookies for a precious child of God. I was baking up these cookies for someone who God has placed on my heart to pray for, and so I did that. I did that a lot, because I made double batches of cookies. So when I handed these packages of cookies off, I wasn't just handing off sweets or something to eat. I was actually handing off prayers.

Sometimes as I go into my prayer time, I forget all those people who I would like to pray for. It's like they'll be on my mind quite a bit, but then the time comes where I'm actually praying, and those thoughts are nowhere to be found. I've discovered the idea that if I bake something for someone, they are in my thoughts the whole time I'm baking for them. Consider the time I spend shopping for ingredients, and then assembling ingredients, baking the cookies, wrapping them up and delivering them- that's a whole lot of prayer going into some baked goods!

Now, does my praying make my baked goods magical in any way? Nah, they're just cookies and bread. But. The whole process, that whole time, I've spent thanking God for them and praying His blessings over their lives. And most likely, they have no idea that I've specifically been praying. But God knows.

So this past weekend, when I was thinking about someone, wishing there was some way I could bless them, it should have been no surprise to me when I very clearly heard a voice say "bake them some cookies". So I will bake some cookies. And while I bake, I will pray.

Maybe you're not a baker. But maybe there's another talent that God gave you that you can do. Think about that, pray about that. Ask God to show you how you can pray for others in a way that will bless them. We are in a time where the body of Christ needs all the prayers they can get. Praying for one another is pleasing to God, and do you really know anyone who wouldn't appreciate some extra prayers? My prayers happen to be seasoned with sugar and spice. Maybe your prayers are seasoned with watercolors or scrapbook paper. Or maybe your prayers are seasoned by the scent of freshly mowed grass or shovels full of snow. Ask God to show you what you can do to remember those you love in prayer- I think you'll be excited with what He will show you.

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