I promised we’d come back to this image, and here we are. The Mealtime Prayer Cube offers options to family prayer before eating. You “say the grace” that comes up when you roll. Only $1.99 US.
As a child, “saying grace” was the same at every meal:
Our Father in heaven, we thank and praise Thee for this food. We pray that Thou wilt bless it to our bodies’ use, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Every single meal.
When we started our own family, I was determined that it be different each time. It doesn’t vary a great deal, but there is room for special requests or anything else that we want to pray corporately at that time, provided the food isn’t getting cold.
I have two horror stories connected to this.
One is the way Christian camps make a mess of the mealtime prayer. What a great opportunity to model for the unchurched kids what Christian prayer looks like in a family setting. But we squander it with “Johnny Appleseed” and “the Superman Grace” and probably several you know that I don’t. A great teaching moment is lost.
Some camps redeem this by doing both however. Once the sung version is over, there is a moment of calm and someone genuinely give thanks to God for the provision of food and the health to enjoy it.
The other is a story about the outreach ministry my wife co-founded. It was decided not to do a prayer before the meal, at least not at first. The reason was that these were people who had previously been fed only in a Salvation Army-styled setting where, “you had to have the sermon before the soup.” On the one or two occasions that I became the person to announce that dinner was ready and they could line up, I think I said something like, “We’re here to share our food tonight because of the love Christ shared with us.” Short and simple, albeit mildly preachy.
But the organization, while it drifted away from its Christian roots to the point where my wife resigned, opted to use a book of prayers which came from a variety of religious perspectives. The person who is to “ask the blessing” simply flips through the book and chooses one. So we went from no prayer to having a spiritually vague prayer.
Better to roll a six-side cube, in that case.