I did not grow up in a religious family. My father is allergic to church and to religion as a whole. My mother grew up going to church, but she didn’t continue as an adult. As a small child, I begged my parents to attend church because I enjoyed it. Our family could be classified in the same category as many North American families – spiritual, but does not fit into a formal religion.
So when it comes to prayer, we should abstain, right? Well, for the last year we have been saying a prayer before dinner. Why? I felt like dinner time was becoming too rushed. Our daughter would sit at the table and as I finished the preparations for dinner, she’d begin wolfing down her food. By the time I could sit down, she’d be nearly finished. I didn’t feel that sitting down and eating in shifts without thinking about the food we were eating was all that respectful to the food. I wanted to do something to acknowledge the fact that we are blessed to have the food that we have.
I wondered whether a meal time prayer would seem like a chore to a preschooler. After all, we instituted it rather abruptly and it involves waiting. But no, my daughter enjoys it. In fact, she generally leads us in prayer now.
How does it work? We have a small prayer bowl in the center of our dining room table, and in it I wrote three prayers on the back of scrapbooking paper. At the beginning, my daughter would choose on the prayers from the bowl and my husband or I would lead the prayer. Now, she generally chooses which prayer to say. It’s a simple, quiet ritual that we all value, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Do you pray before meals?