November 1, 2010

Prayer and the Art of Oven Cleaning

I used to hate cleaning my oven.

Every year around this time, i clean my oven in preparation for all the baking and entertaining that I'll be doing over the next few months. (Yes, i only clean my oven once a year - don't judge me!)

Last night i covered the heating elements and light and oven thermometer with tinfoil and sprayed the oven with that toxic, nasty, heavy duty earth-killing oven cleaner stuff, put the door back on and went to bed.
This morning I woke up with the intent of making pie for a neighbor who's done some nice things for us, and then remembered...

Drat, I've got to clean the oven.

So I set to work. And while cleaning, i was thinking about all the ways i get to serve my family and friends with this oven. As i wiped mucky paper towel after mucky paper towel, i began to pray for all the loved ones who will pass through this house over the holidays. I prayed for my friends. My family. Strangers we hardly know but hope to know better. I prayed for community, fellowship, rest. I prayed that God would come and be at the dinner table with us, each time we sit down together...and not just that he would BE there, but that He would show himself to us, that we would be acutely aware of God's presence in our home, our lives and each other.

Today, i loved cleaning my oven. I embraced this opportunity to not only prepare my oven for service, but to prepare my heart too.

Maybe now I'll clean my oven twice a year.

But probably not.


  1. I cleaned my oven once, and now we can only cook with the top element.

  2. I haven't cleaned my oven ever. I just assume cranking it on broil a couple times a month will do the trick - and as for burn stuff on the bottom - who cares?! Who's going to be looking down there anyway?

  3. Hey Naomi! I seriously recommend cleaning your oven. Here's why:
    1) The shiny smooth sides of a clean oven allow heat to bounce off and this means your food is evenly surrounded by heat... which makes for more evenly leveled cakes and more evenly browned cookies.
    2) Grime or grease build up can be a fire hazard
    3) A clean oven is more energy efficient
    4) When you cook with a soiled oven the baked on food creates smoke and fumes...which can be stinky and harmful.

  4. Naomi,
    Can you email me about the picture you used in this blog post? The Mom2Mom ministry at my church might be interested in using it, and I was wondering where you got it or how to get permission to use it from you.

    -David H

  5. I've NEVER cleaned my oven. Thanks for making me realize I have to do that. :)


  6. Seriously, you inspire me and amaze me! What you do on this blog is exactly what I need and want for my life!

  7. Kelly! I just discovered your blog thru a Pinterest pin!! I've spent the last hour looking around and reading! Love it! I'm gonna share it on my own blog next week! I'm gonna take up praying for all those I use my stove for too - while cleaning it! Love that! Be blessed!! I certainly have been!!

  8. :) Love this. You are so inspiring. Your faith is a light and strength to others. This blog is fantastic encouragement! Have a Happy New Year and please keep the post coming!

  9. I have yet to clean an oven. I admit it, I am 32 years old and have never cleaned an oven. In flimsy defense, I have also never lived in once place very long. However, whether I clean my oven or not, I will probably find more joy in cleaning now that I have read this post. I can almost guarantee that cleaning and praying will both become more a part of my daily routine. And believe me, they need to be. Thank you.

  10. Just found your site by way of Pinterest this afternoon. Love how many creative ideas and thoughts are woven throughout your site. When I read about cleaning the oven I was reminded of something I read somewhere about praying for your family members as you are folding their clothes.

    I have to admit I haven't done this often but when negative thoughts start to take me where I shouldn't go I try change my thoughts by praying. The other thing I've done for mundane tasks that I would rather not be doing is download inspiring messages from pastors, preachers onto my MP3 player and listen to it while I work.

  11. So much grace and encouragement! Thanks for the many good ideas on so many subjects. Love it all.

  12. If you're going to let the cleaner stuff sit in the oven overnight anyway, I've used a baking soda & water paste with very good effect. It's a PAIN to rinse off, but it's non-toxic and works quite well. I also use sponges & old towels rather than paper towels, which aren't really sturdy enough to do the job. The old towels are mucky and gross, but I wash them separately and keep them for that sort of job and it works fine.

    Thanks for validating that cleaning the oven once a year is a perfectly reasonable thing to do!

  13. Kelly, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I had a major cooking accident today and will (for the first time in years) be cleaning my oven tomorrow afternoon! I was soooo not looking forward to it! All I kept thinking was I know its going to be an all day job and my back is going to hurt and I am going to be one hot mess by the time its all over, BUT NOW, I feel much better much more optimistic and READY TO ROLL tomorrow morning! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I can't believe I am looking forward to cleaning my oven!

  14. Wow! The oven cleaning was good, but what I learned from this is to use the time doing menial tasks to pray therefore making it an enjoyable experience instead of a dreaded chore.


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