Imagine, for a moment, a family gathering around the dinner table. Believing that the food on the table is a blessing from God, the family takes a few moments to pray, to thank God for the goodness He has shown them in providing nourishment for their bodies. They’ve said this prayer a thousand times before—and perhaps that’s why it sounds so rushed, so uninspired, so forced. Sound familiar?
In any family, each person probably has a particular form of prayer that’s most meaningful to him or her. Honor that by letting each individual choose a different prayer for the meal at least once a week… and have some fun with it. Here are just a few ideas:
Sing the traditional Grace Before Meals prayer—improvise the melody.
Say a prayer chain—go around the table and let each person tell God something he or she is thankful for that day.
Read a passage from Scripture—don’t worry about having to add anything to it. Let the verse be the prayer.
Take 15 seconds of total silence, letting each family member pray to himself or herself. You may be amazed at how powerfully prayerful a pause can be!
Move the prayer from before the meal to after the meal. Simply changing when you say the prayer can help people focus more on the act of praying.
By mixing up the ways you pray at the table, you can ensure that habit won’t trump heart. In the process, you’ll discover again the joy of meeting God in mealtime prayer!