Dinner Prayer

Do you pray at dinner:
Bless us, O Lord, and these gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen

My husband is a convert from before I meet him. He asked me one night at dinner why we always say this prayer before dinner. His family, (I hate saying it this way) makes something up, or maybe something from their heart, I don’t know, each meal.

Of course my response was to him because we are Catholic and that is what Catholics say. He of course didn’t think my answer was good enough. HELP!!

Yes, we do. My dh (also a convert) learned a different standard prayer growing up. I really liked his, but he really liked this one! LOL

There is nothing wrong with extemporaneous prayer (making it up as you go along), but lots of people are unconfortable with that. Or, they end up saying basically, “God, thanks for the food.” There is nothing wrong with that prayer, but it doesn’t tend to be taken very seriously (by us, not by God).

Anyway, the “Bless us, oh Lord” prayer is simply a standard, more beautiful way to say “God, thanks for the food.” It covers everything that ought to be in a grace–asking for God’s blessing, thanking Him for the food and acknowledging that it did indeed come from Him (even if by way of the grocery store).

What we like about it is that everyone can join in and when we eat with extended family, or other Catholic friends, everyone knows the prayer. And no one gets put on the spot to ‘lead prayers’ in public!

I encourage you to teach it to your children, but there is no reason why you have to say it every night. Perhaps your dh would like to lead with an extemporaneous prayer on Sundays or before special meals. But, I tell you, there is nothing like “bless us, oh Lord” for making sure grace gets said before resturant meals! :stuck_out_tongue:

You answered truthfully, but, ya know, ya don’t have to pray that prayer. :stuck_out_tongue: It gives us somewhere to start from, adding to is never bad, so long as it doesn’t contradict the faith or it’s teachings. If your husband wants to say a more lengthy prayer or his family wants to, as long as its not contrary to your faith, I don’t see the hurt in it. God loves prayers from your heart too! In fact, I’m sure He wished Catholics would get back to more prayers from the heart, like they used too! :smiley: So, with your husband and his family, let them lead the way. If it’s just yourself, or with your kids, then you can say the Catholic blessing you are more comfortable with. :slight_smile:

At dinners with his family, his grandfather, who is German Baptist, leads the prayer. I have no problem with that and never would. I do get funny looks from his family when I cross myself after the prayer, I do it without thinking and guess it is just a hard habit to break.
We always say the “Catholic” prayer at meals at home or with my family who is all Catholic.

I guess I should also add that when any of his family, who are not Catholic, come over for dinner we always invite them to say the dinner prayer.

Let them look at your funny. Don’t break that habit of crossing yourself! It’s a powerful prayer in it’s own right.

Oh I’m sorry! From your husband’s questioning it, I thought he wasn’t Catholic or was new to the faith. Sorry. :blush: There’s no shame in crossing yourself, but, I, too, sometimes decide not too when I’m with the protestant part of our family. Shame on me, I know. :blush: I often spend a good portion of the prayer deciding that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ok, SHAME on me for saying this!!! :blush:
At least the prayers are typically long enough to make that decision!!!

When the JW family member is invited we just skip grace all together!

He converted about 10 years ago, we have been married 2.5 years

We say it. I’m the convert… Problems with standard prayers is that some Protestants think that they are against something the bible states. There is a verse in there concerning rote prayer. I too, once thought that saying the same thing over and over was ungenuine. Something made up seemed more authentic… My suggestion is to talk about it and how he feels. You could let him lead or start a family tradition of going around the table.

9 times out of 10 we say the Grace Before Meals prayer. If my stepfather is there and says the prayer he says the one they used to say in his family when they were kids:

“Rub-a-dub-dub, Thanks for the grub. Yay God!” Kind of silly, but is said with the right intent, it does both offer God thanksgiving as well as worship.

Sometimes we will say the prayer my now 16 yo learned in Montessori school: “Help us as we work and play to grow more loving in ever way. Amen.”

My 5 year old is the only one who volunteers to say an off the cuff prayer. His tend to be pretty “interesting” but always pretty sweet.

With just our immediate family, we say just the standard prayer. If we are with our extended family (ie baptism, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, other event), we usually have an extemporaneous prayer, but then end with the standard prayer. It is really kind of a neat feeling. While the person is doing the intial prayer, everyone is quiet, but as soon as that person starts the standard prayer, everyone joins in and it always gives me goosebumps. Just hearing everyone pray together is just so awesome. If it is a standard prayer, then everyone can say it together. if it is an extemporaneous prayer, then only the person praying can say it on behalf of everyone else.

I love that idea.

My husband is Lutheran and his family has a set prayer that they say when extemporaneous just doesn’t work (like the person asked to pray just feels self conscious)
“Come Lord Jesus be our guest let these gifts to us be Blest. Amen” There is more that his Aunt used to say but she passed away before I could get her to write it all down for me and no one else seems to remember it - it was really nice too.

My sister and her family and my parents say more because when my now 30 yo nephew was in school he was taught to say more:
" Bless us, O Lord, and these gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Jesus, Mary and Joseph pray for us. May the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen" Or something like this. We didn’t say it this way as a child so I never learned it and once we are sitting to eat my Dad wants to eat so he says it practically without taking a breath and I only get to hear it when we are visiting home about once every other year or so (we live 1500 miles away)!

As for extemporaneous prayer before meals, nothing wrong with it. It is a good time to practice this as well as saying the rote prayer.

Brenda V.

That is what we do as well. Growing up I found spontaneous prayer to be scary…what if I said the wrong thing or stumbled. As I’ve gotten older and my faith has grown, so too has my desire to just SPEAK to God. I like this because it patterns a good behavior for my kids so maybe they will grow up knowing you can just SPEAK to Him, it doesn’t always have to be in rote prayer.

My parents do say formal prayer before every meal.

When I’m on my own … well, being something of a grazer I’d be saying grace a dozen times a day if I followed their example :o

But in my morning offering I do thank God for all His gifts, including the food I eat.

you can certainly introduced spontaneous prayer, and the dinner table is a good place to start, but it is a skill that has to be learned as well. the benefit of a prepared grace like this is that it expresses well the proper attitude and format of a table blessing, not always easy to come up with off the cuff.

At the dinner table, I start off with the Bless us O Lord prayer, then my 17 year old recites a meal prayer that she learned in the Girl Scouts, then my youngest recites the Our Father.

 On a humorous note, at gatherings with my wifes family, which includes Baptists and members of the Community of Christ church, I get elected to say the meal prayer because it is the shortest. One day I'm going to surprise them and read something from the Psalms. Some thing nice and long.:)

In our famil(ies) the children are taught the ‘God is great, God is good’ meal prayer, and encouraged to say it, too.
My granny, southern Baptist, always used 'Thank you Lord, for these and all of our many blessings, Amen."
We have used the OP prayer as well. Sometimes it’s impromptu. Just depends on who’s saying it, the occasion, mood, ect.
I had a book of meal prayers, great and interesting reading, but have sadly misplaced it. I love hearing diff ones, and I think God does too.

Since most of my wife’s family are not Catholic (or should I say “actively Catholic”) the only time they get a prayer in is at family gatherings. As the “patriarch” and noticeably active Catholic at most holiday meals and special occasions, I am most often called upon to say grace. I take this responsiblilty seriously, so I spend some time composing a grace at the computer that will first, praise God, then thank God for the meal. Then I will find some way to include everyone present, whether it be thanks for a particular blessing he has bestowed or a petition for someone with a special need. I will close the prayer in Jesus’ name, through the Holy Spirit. The trick is to make it earnest enough to please God, and short enough so the food doesn’t get cold! lol

Oh Bread of Life, from day to day, sustains us in our homeward way.

That’s the prayer my dh grew up with. I love it also.

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