Sunday, September 17, 2017


     It is September, and the last few mornings have been cool and mood-lifting, promising the turning of the season and the pecan harvest which often begins later this month.  When the new pecans come on the market, I'm ready to do some baking and candy-making. Fresh pecans just beg to be made into pralines.
     I have a good friend who is a deacon  in his church and loves a tasty praline. He's from the deep South and pronounces the word "praw-lean". I would like to assert, however, that the correct pronunciation is "pray lean". Here is why.
     Pralines are a heavenly concoction of sugar, buttermilk, pecans, and butter that, if prepared correctly, result in an irresistible crunchy caramel confection which, at the same time, retains a creamy, melt-in-your mouth texture.  Sometimes, when I make them, the candy turns out too crunchy and sets up hard, crystallizing on the wax paper. At other times it stays gummy and never quite hardens up, needing to be scraped off of the wax paper with a spatula, resulting in chewy, teeth – locking balls. The outcome depends on the humidity, my timing in taking the boiling pot off the stove, the beating, and then holding  my mouth just so. When all the variables fall into place in my favor, my friend the deacon calls the resulting pralines "sheer perfection".
     Now, back to the reason I think the correct pronunciation should be "pray lean". Every time I make pralines--which isn't very often because the ingredients are expensive and the process tedious--, I pray a little and then lean on the hope that they will turn out perfectly and that I will not have wasted my ingredients on a crumbling mess or a sticky disaster. I think that's probably the attitude that we should have when we pray,  and a praline may remind us of it. Pray, and then lean.
1. Pray
    God tells us to pray. Plain and simple.
"6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7 ESV

2. Lean
 Once we have prayed, we may depend on God, confident in the peace that He promises.  
 Like leaning against a wall and knowing it will support our weight, we  may lean on him. When we draw nearer to him, he comes closer to us.  He's not going to step aside and let us fall when we lean.
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." James 4:8 ESV
 An additional benefit of leaning toward God is learning  that we may depend on him for emotional support as well and talk to Him Assured that he empathizes with us.

" 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16NIV

Whether we are anxious, sad, or joyful, we know that he's listening and that he hears us. 

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."
I John 5:14 NIV

How much clearer could our instructions be? God tells us to pray, says that he hears us, and assures us that he understands our needs. That's a pretty simple recipe, and our success doesn't depend on the relative humidity, the amount of money we spend, or  the posture we take. We may lean on Jesus and his work on the cross, depending on the hope we have in him. Just follow the recipe:  Pray. Lean. (And, remember to say "pray-lean" every time you eat one my southern favorites--the praline!) 

No comments: