Meal Blessing QUESTION

With families getting together for the holidays, I was wondering:
Does your family do a blessing for the holiday meal? Is it a corporate blessing (i.e., rote) or is free form? Is there a designated pray-er?

It’s interesting that, even in my more…secular days, there was always a blessing at Thanksgiving and usually at Christmas. One girlfriend always evoked the memory of John F. Kennedy, who died around Thanksgiving in 1963.

When my wife’s family is together, the designee is usually my mother-in-law. When the Greens are together, it’s usually my sister Leslie. But in other situations, it’s devolved to me. I remember that at a work function in 2002 in New York City, there was a clergyperson who was supposed to offer the invocation, but he didn’t show, and I got pressed into service.

Growing up, the corporate prayer at daily dinner was:
Heavenly Parent, thank you for this food we’re about to receive for the nourishment of our bodies. In Christ’s name, Amen.
But somewhere in the mid-1960s, my father changed Christ’s to His, trying to respect other faiths.

My wife’s family’s corporate prayer is:
Bless this food to our use, and us to thy service, and keep us ever mindful of the needs of others. Amen.

Our corporate prayer was:
God is great, God is good. Let us thank you for our food.

However, recently, the Daughter discovered this one, which we now use:
A-B-C-D-E-F-G. Thank you you, Lord, for feeding me. Amen.
However, she did it to the tune of the Alphabet Song, which wouldn’t do. Instead, we now sing it to the Nestles chocolate commercial.
I remember Bob Feller.
I saw only a handful of Blake Edward films, “10”, one of the “Pink Panther” comedies, and collaboration with his wife, Julie Andrews, “Victor/Victoria,” but sad to see him pass.

0 thoughts on “Meal Blessing QUESTION”

  1. I have used both free form, and rote prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, and I too am often the one who prays at collective meals. I think it was part of the fine print of obtaining a grade degree in Theology. As far as being conscientious of other faiths, the extended family are various types of Christian, and I generally don’t touch upon touchy doctrinal issues when praying over food. Unless, I am being facetious, and then it’s understood what I am doing, and not taken seriously.


  2. I like your daughter’s prayer. It’s perfect to the Nestle chocolate tune. I might try it one day at the dinner table. I think both the husband and the mama would like it. On holidays, the mama pulls out a piece of paper on which she copied a prayer, similar to your growing-up prayer, for me to read.


  3. We hold hands around the table and anyone can offer a free form prayer. The default pray-er (if no one else speaks up) is my husband. Sometimes he’ll ask one of the boys to say the blessing, which with our younger boy, often starts with a weather report: “Thank you God, for this nice cold/warm/rainy/windy day.”


  4. I held off commenting on this Roger, because, as you can imagine, it’s a vexed topic for me. The short answer is that no prayer or blessing has been offered at my table for more than thirty years, a period that includes when I was still a churchgoing believer.

    However, when I was a kid my dad—an ordained minister—was the main pray-er, my mother when he wasn’t around. We kids also had to have a turn, and I hated that (because of the public performance aspect).

    The only prayer I still remember is one my sister picked up in the 1970s. My parents loved its irreverence: “Rub a dub dub/Thanks for the grub/Yay God!” If I were still religious, that would the the kind of corporate prayer I could back!


  5. At family meals we use a common table prayer (Come Lord Jesus, be our guest…) We’ve also done the free form version on occasion. We used to get together with a group of friends and sing grace when eating together. We’ve actually received applause when we sang in restaurants before sharing the meal. I especially like singing grace. It was sung to the Doxology:

    Be present at our table, Lord,
    Be here and everywhere adored;
    Please bless this food and grant that we
    May feast in paradise with Thee.

    And then there’s “Good bread, good meat, good God, let’s eat!”


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