Prayer is not a product; it is a relationship.
~ Daniel Wolpert, Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices
Spending time in the kitchen or in nature is one of my favorite forms of prayer. In those places, God and I roll up our sleeves and get to work as we chat about life’s challenges and new insights. We commiserate about frustrations, cry about losses, and celebrate over joys.
For a long time, I just called those opportunities “conversations” with God and assumed that I needed to meet several requirements to engage in prayer:
Needless to say, I rarely met those expectations being a working single parent. Moreover, I sensed that I found more peace in homesteading activities than I did sitting on my couch in silence.
A couple of years ago, my spiritual director defined the relationship of prayer for me. As I described my connection to canning and the “openness” it gives me in being closer to God, I watched the light in her face unfold. You see, canning for me is an opportunity to turn off the world and make still everything around me. The process takes little thought so it affords me the time to talk with God, bless the healthy food I am preparing, and lift up thoughts and prayers for others. When I complete a canning task, or any other homesteading task around the farm, I find that I feel centered and rooted again.
After describing these feelings to Katie, she looked at me and smiled gently, “My dear Cameron, you ARE praying, you ARE meditating. It may not be on a couch in silence, but you are connecting with God.” I thought back to my parameters:
Katie was right. Prayer is not so much about where and how it happens or if it is presented as a neatly formed
confession/thanksgiving. It is about the time spent talking and listening, quieting ourselves long enough to hear what God is saying and to feel how we are being moved or called to respond. It can happen in the kitchen or the garden, on a river or atop a mountain. And sometimes, when I least expect it, it even happens on a couch in the silence of an early morning sunrise.