A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to teach a Bible study group of women at my local church. We were in a series about prayer but my teaching was unplanned so I was given the opportunity to talk about any topic I wanted to teach. I knew I wanted to continue the thread of prayer, so I decided to unpack the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4; Matthew 6:9-13). As the conversation unfolded, one woman asked, “How do I pray for the big things in the world which are weighing on my heart?” It was a great question. I paused to think about how to answer, but several women chimed in, “I pray for revival… I pray for those who don’t know God’s grace…I pray to be a light for those who are walking in the dark.”
My response was I focus on whatever is weighing deeply on my heart and to love others. However, there are times when everything seems too big, too out of control, or just too heavy. I continued to explain that if I don’t know what to pray for or can’t find the words, I always return to the Lord’s Prayer. I thought to myself about everything happening in the world…how big it all feels. Thinking about everything made me feel overwhelmed, I can understand how someone doesn’t know how to pray or what to pray for in these times.
Last night, as I was making a fairly simple dinner, it occurred to me my prayers need to be just the same. As I tossed my salad and flipped the portobellos, I reminded myself sometimes I can pack the most flavor in the simplicity of one or two seasonings. When cooking, the two seasonings you put in almost every dish are salt and pepper. The same can be said about our prayers…all we need to do is add salt and pepper.
The salt is what will preserve our prayers in the same way it preserves our food. When we pray, it is like sprinkling salt on it to preserve it and enhance the flavor. In cooking, salt brings out the flavor of your dish, it can also take something tough and make it tender, or it can preserve food so that you do not have to refrigerate it. We can use the salt of the earth (aka Jesus) to do the same with us and our prayers.
The pepper adds a touch of earthiness to food. If we add it to our prayers, it is like adding a bit of ourselves to our prayers. We acknowledge that our God is the Creator of all things and can answer our prayers. Whether we are praying for healing, guidance, surrender, forgiveness, etc. these are all matters of our flesh and our hearts. When we add the pepper to our prayers we are actually requesting matters of this earth be answered.
There are going to be days, seasons, years of our lives when we feel like we don’t know what to pray for, don’t have the energy to bring all our petitions to God, or even have the words to pray. But, if we just open our hearts and add a little salt and pepper to our prayers, we may be amazed at how we are able to communicate and petition our Almighty Father.