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A prayer we always said with our children even before they could speak. It goes like this. Come Lord Jesus, be our guest. Let this food to us be blessed. Amen Our oldest daughter will be 51 at the end of this month and remembers our blessing when she was little. Our grandchildren now carry on the tradition.
What a beautiful blessing Hugh, thank you for sharing!
Looking for a grace for a veterans retirement party
“Lord, some people have food and no friends, and some people have friends and no food. We are thankful that at this table today we have both. Amen.”
(Sung, hands held)
We thank thee Lord, for Jesus Christ,
and for the blood He shed,
we thank thee for, His risen life,
and for our daily bread. Amen.
I grew up in Brockton Mass. Our swedish baptist prayer sounded something like this:
sehr a gud a signamonen namen tack
anyone know what the correct spelling and what it means? All the ancestors are gone now.
I know this is an old post so it may not help anybody at this point. But when I read the “Swedish” prayer, I had to reply because it made me grin. The spelling is so far off so I’m not sure, but it could be:
“Ber att Gud välsignar maten, amen, tack”
Translation goes something like this:
“Praying that God will bless the food, amen, thank you”
Re grace in SWEDISH: if anyone has this prayer in Swedish or English, please post it. (My father learned it from his mother but his recitation was by rote, as he did not speak Swedish.)
Tak & a good Thanksgiving to you all, now and always.
Great comments from everyone! Our tradition (in keeping with Matthew 6:7,8 -the verses right before the model prayer known as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ or ‘Our Father’) is for the head of the family to say a spontaneous, though respectful and well-thought-out prayer or grace before each meal, addressing it in God’s name (Psalm 83:18). Usually keeps everyone’s focus on gratefulness, but… to share a family story: Once, when my sister and I made a casserole out of the week’s leftovers [a hideous rectangular thing with burnt mushrooms on top], Dad got about half-way thru grace, and… he tried to use the phrase ‘thank you for the fine food’ but he kept cracking up! After 3 or 4 attempts he said that if we survived dinner, he’d pray afterwards! Well, that casserole should have lasted us two days, but it was so good we gobbled it all up! To this day, we laugh every time we think of the “Oh, God” casserole!
I’m Mormon, and it’s pretty customary to pray over every dinner. Some families do it over lunch and breakfast too, and at Mormon gatherings we always pray over the refreshments. People take turns, including the littlest kids. Everyone folds their arms, closes their eyes and bows their heads. There’s no set script, so the person praying picks the words him or herself, but the basic components are:
– An invocation to God (“Dear Heavenly Father” or something similar)
– Thanking God for the food
– Asking God for a blessing on the food
– “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen”
And then everyone else says “Amen” afterward. You can put more in the prayer too, if you want, such as a blessing on the cook, gratitude for being together as a family, etc. Some Mormons, if they are eating in a restaurant or by themselves, will still pray over their food, just silently.
We say something my husband’s (American) family brought back from their time living in the German-speaking area of Switzerland: Ein Geute mit ein andere. Online, I only find “Ein Geute” as a standard, and it’s roughly “a good one with another” or bon appetit. It has a nice ring, and is secular. We even said it at our wedding…
And my husband and I say it when we sit down to our own dinner table, and kind of do the thing where we all gather hands. It’s nice to feel a bit like the rest of the day is done, now we are with family…
I love the blessing you say over your meals…it is beautiful. And so simple. It’s wonderful to touch the heart of God isn’t it?
My husband and I are Christians – we don’t belong to any particular denomination – and we have 4 children, ranging from four to 4 months.
We say a prayer before our evening meal. We always express gratitude for the food God has provided us, but we also try to include a unique prayer request or two in order to keep it from becoming merely ritual. We are trying to show the kids that God wants us to talk to Him as a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Thank you for sharing yours, and for opening up your comments to hear others’ traditions. :-)
For Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter my grandfather would say The Selkirk Grace by Robert Burns:
SOME HAE MEAT AN’ CANNA EAT
AND SOME WAD EAT THAT WANT IT
BUT WE HAE MEAT AN’ WE CAN EAT
AND SAE THE LORD BE THANKIT.
I recently married a lieutenant in the Army who hails from Iowa. As an Irish Catholic from New York, I grew up saying the Catholic grace you mentioned. My first few times visiting Ben’s family (he’s the second oldest of 7 children!), Ben’s parents would ask the older children to say grace. It wasn’t scripted and we all held hands and focused on what the individual was thankful for – whether it be the food we were about to eat or the safety of our flights across the country. With Ben currently deployed, I look back on those graces we shared and smile knowing we are all thankful for the amazing family we have become.
Cheers to your great entry! Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing your delicious and healthy recipes. The stories of your family and the interesting recipes are such a delight. As I type the basil curry chicken with coconut rice is marinating. Who is the precious little boy saying Grace in your photo? We say the Catholic prayer before every meal. I was deeply touched that you included a prayer for Thanksgiving. The New Testament miracle of Jesus curing the 10 lepers and only one of the cured comes back to thank him is quite a lesson in gratitude or lack thereof. We can never thank our Lord enough.
Thanks for a lovely post–I always enjoy this blog. My family always said grace before every meal, but, as good Protestants, we didn’t say any of the ritual prayers of the “high church folks.” This meant we often had lengthy prayers–we timed my grandmother at just under 20 minutes once!
However, as an adult, I’m starting to come round to the idea of saying a ritualistic prayer. I find that the older I get the more I love tradition as a way to deepen my roots.
This post reminds me of a book I just finished that I bet readers of this site would love, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver–it gave me a new appreciation for shared kitchen and dining table rituals.
My family is Lutheran now but before we became Lutheran we created a family prayer/vesper we say together. We hold hands and say
Thank for this day and our time together
Be with our friends and family near and far
Be with the people around the world.
Take this food to nourish our bodies to do your
In Jesus’ name we pray
Elise I know its late but Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you and your family.
In a world that is becoming dark and negative your blog is a light of postive to shine on the darkness and definitely an interesting read!
Peace be with you
Thanks so much for this wonderful blog. I have been reading for over two years and I frequently check the updates and enjoy the recipes. This blog helped guide me through making my first Thanksgiving turkey ever.
I don’t usually say grace before meals, unless I am with people who do, because I am an atheist. But when I gather with friends or family for a meal I like to have a toast (even if it is just with water – which I know you’re not supposed to do) to acknowledge the specialness of our gathering. I think it can lend a somehow sacramental, if secular, element to what are indeed very special occasions.
We always say the bread blessing in Hebrew and translate for guests. This prayer is always said over the Challah on Friday night–the Sabbath. There is a prayer in Hebrew to bless all kinds of foods but, the bread blessing has always stuck with us.
“Praised are You, Ya-way, our G-d, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen.”
To bethness, a commenter upthread: I’m a theology student too. What a coincidence!
About the actual topic: there’s a Mennonite hymn called “God, Whose Farm is All Creation” which compares the work of a farmer to God’s creating work, with lots of harvest images. It’s very nice, but in light of more general (ahem) gender issues in Christianity it really bugged me that “men’s” work in harvesting was compared to God’s work in creation, but not “women’s” work of actually preparing the food. (Yes, I realize that there are women who farm and men who cook, but in the subculture out of which this was written, there’s a clear division of labor.) So I wrote something to the same tune. My mom and I sang it as the blessing for Thanksgiving this year, and my husband and I sing it sometimes with our kids. I’ve always thought about submitting it for publication somewhere, and so not been very public about it, but it seems right to share here. Begging your pardon for posting original work, here it is:
God, whose kitchen is creation,we prepare our drink and meat.
How much more you wash, prepare us. Then you bid us take and eat.
God, whose hands have set the table, and who calls us to the feast,
Seats together enemies, gives place of honor to the least.
God whose guests are all your creatures, stop the hands of those who hoard.
Lift their eyes to see your other guests, and so see You, O Lord.
God who measures every portion, those whose shares have been denied
You shall fill with all good things, that your name, Lord, be glorified.
God, each day you bring us closer to the feast that has no end.
For that feast help us to labor, hunger, thirst, prepare and tend.
Growing up we would say together, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food. or Come Lord Jesus be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed.” My Dad or Grandpa would say a personal prayer on holidays or family get togethers. Growing up I always felt a little awkward when eating with friends if I didn’t know their family prayer. Now my husband or I say a short free form prayer aloud before dinner.
Growing up we took turns & always said:
“Heavenly Father Bless this food, to thy glory & thine good. Amen”
Now we alternate between “Heavenly Father…”, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food. Amen” & a free form prayer depending on the time of year, circumstances & mood.