Prayer #147: Table Grace

Always Say Grace And Bow Your Head Before Eating

Remember the last time I visited how we say grace before meals? Well, the topic resurfaced over winter break when Fella and I were breaking bread (or, more precisely, breaking lentil soup) at my house.

My approach: I like saying the standard Christian Bless us O Lord grace slowly before every meal -- or at least, every meal that I remember to do it, which usually comes out to just dinner.

Pros: Everyone who knows the prayer can participate. The ritual and habit allows reflection.

Cons: The prayer can become rote and meaningless. It's short, so there's a tendency to rush.

His approach: He likes saying a free-form grace, usually before dinner, that derives from spontaneous feeling and "however the Spirit moves you"-ness.

Pros: It directs your thoughts and focuses you not just on the food, but on your experiences. The continual change can command your attention.

Cons: Sometimes you might be at a loss for words. Also, not everyone can say it along with you.

In both cases, however, we agreed that the act of stopping, thinking, and expressing gratitude was important no matter the vehicle, and the point was to take it slow and take it to heart.

But that's just us. How do you feel about saying grace? Do you say it at all? If so, any particular prayer or style? If not, why? Share in the comments.

In any event, try this one on for size ...

Prayer #147: Table Grace

Bless the tree that formed this table
Bless the tools that shaped our chairs
Bless the food from field and stable
Bless the hands that coaxed it there
Bless the souls who gather here bowed
Bless our thoughts and hopes and deeds
Bless us as we make the vow now:
Honor God, the one who feeds.