Thursday, May 23, 2013

Saying Grace At Mealtime

Matt and I pray before we eat meals.  It was something we both did as children, but then we both dropped the habit as we moved out of our respective homes.  It was only a few years ago that we picked it up again.

Matt's family does a rather traditional German prayer and mine always did a traditional Catholic prayer.  I didn't know that at the time.  It was just something I discovered later and I learned more about prayer and various mealtime and bedtime prayers.

I am not sure what was the specific catalyst to picking it up again.  We're spiritual people.  We're thankful for all the blessings we've been given--and we know we've been given a lot.  So it seems like just the right thing to do.  To take a pause in this crazy world to be grateful is never a bad thing.  Never.  I think taking the time to be grateful just gives you more to be grateful for.

Most meals get a simple "Let this food to us be blessed," with a bowed head.  But, some days call for a special ad lib--like when family is visiting and we are grateful for the time with them and the safety of their travels, or when we're fresh back from the temples of the mountains and filled up with the spirit, and so on.

I let Matt lead grace, though I occasionally do chime in with any special ad libs I'd like included.  I don't know why Matt leads our prayer, but that feels right to me, too.

While we have landed on the prayer we offer before meals I do still like to read little prayer books.  I have an especial weakness for prayers from around the world and prayers of children.  I like to see how much we are all the same despite how much we are all different.  There is so much the same.

So here are a few that I've scribbled down that I thought were really nice little prayers.

It is my greatest hope that everyone can enjoy and give thanks for this wonderful day we've all been given, filled with blessing innumerable.
Madison Campground breakfast at YNP.

O God, Creator of Light: at the rising of your sun this morning, let the greatest of all light, your love, rise like the sun within our hearts. 
             – Armenian Apostolic Church (Lebanon)
Spring fresh asparagus and lentil sloppy joes on fresh rolls.
Thank you for the flowers that bloom by the road;
For the birds that sing in the trees;
For clear waters that gush from the springs;
For the bread we are about to eat.  Amen.
                -France
Mashing potatoes.
Father, who feeds the small sparrows, give us our bread and feed all our brothers.  Amen. 
                -France
Birthday Wacky Cake with coconut milk ice cream.
You who have worked,
Sit down at our table;
You who have labored,
Come, now, and eat
The bread of friendship.  Amen.
                -France
Grilled asparagus with salt and pepper.
Come, God, be our guest;
May our food thus be blessed.  Amen.
                -Germany
A YNP peanut butter and jelly/honey sandwich lunch.
For the beauty of our country paths and roads,
For today and for tomorrow;
For the bread which we eat;
For our good friends, too,
We thank you God.  Amen.
                -France
My very brown birthday dinner of all my favorites--falafel, country fried tofu, mashed potatoes, and a fresh white roll.  
Change my stubborn little heart
Into a happy little garden
Full of fresh flowers,
With snow white lilies, fine grass,
Even a nest of singing birds.  Amen.
                -Belgium

6 comments:

  1. I love prayer books too, and always enjoyed the series about "Our Family's Favorite Grace" in Taste of Home Magazine. (I don't know if they still do it.) I found a little Hebrew prayer book at a yard sale years ago. The binding was bad, but the book was fully in color, with Hebrew and English prayers. I still have it and have used several of the pages in scrapbooking.

    This is a great post.

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    1. That is a great use for such a lovely, but worn book. I've never seen the section of THM which you mention, but I bet I'd like it, too. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled next time I stumble on a copy.

      Thanks and I hope you are having a great day!

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  2. You are so right. Being grateful is always a good thing. Sometimes when I feel envy, or mistreated i have to tell myself to take another look and be grateful for what I have. It is usually something no one can take away.

    As a child I said grace at our table. It went like this:

    O Little Prayer be on your way
    Bless this food and bless this day!
    Amen

    have a great one....

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    1. That is a GREAT and sweet little prayer, Mary. Thanks for sharing it with me.

      And yes, gratitude is something to be activly cultivated like that, isn't it.

      I hope you have a great one, too!

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  3. I like this post:) I interpret saying Grace at meal time as being thankful, regardless if one shows thanks by praying to a God or taking a moment to quietly appreciate the meal set before him/her. I wonder if there is a correlation between the percentage of a society that regularly says Grace at meal time and that society's access to quick and easy processed food.

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    1. Ooooh, very interesting question. I bet there is!

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!