Grace Before Meals
compiled by the editor
Our family uses the traditional:
Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts,
Which we are about to receive
From Thy Bounty through Christ, Our Lord,
Fr. Groeschel is a saintly priest for whom we can all give thanks. He is reported as using this prayer.
Komm Herr Jesus, sei unser Gast und
segne alles was du uns bescheret hast.
Lord Jesus Christ, be Thou our guest,
and share the food which Thou hast blessed.
Michelle Elledge writes:
A few years ago my youngest son brought home from Faith Formation class a decorated soup can labeled "Table Prayers". He had cut out "before meal prayers" his teacher had made copies of and he pasted them on little decorated cards made of colored paper. Included were the one on your page plus these:
Before we eat this food, dear Lord,
we bow our heads to pray;
and for your blessings and your care
our humble thanks we say. Amen
Come Lord Jesus,
be our guest, and let
this food to us be blessed. Amen.
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the friends we meet.
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything. Amen.
Gracious Giver of all good,
we thank you for rest and food;
Grant that all we do or say
may serve you joyfully today. Amen.
We still have his "Table Prayer" can but now also have a little wooden box we keep on the table that we found through Abbey Press which has 101 Meal Prayers. We have our favorites and have added some of our own to the box. A recipe box with index cards would work great for this too.
Michael's "Table Prayer" can really got us going though and reading the Grace prayer when he was first learning to read made him feel he was doing something important and special (we have many that are very simple to read and some that are more grown up level for when its big brother's and Mom and Dad's turn). This has really established the practice of saying Grace before meals in our family. Hope this helps!
Erin Nugent adds;
We used the traditional prayer described on your web-page until our oldest child started pre-school a year and a half ago and learned a new one from the Sisters of St. Chretienne. She always uses it, even when eating alone. If we accidently start the traditional one before dinner, she - and now her brother - ignore us and go on with this one:
Thank you God for the food we eat.
Thank you God for the friends we meet.
Thank you God for the sun above.
Thank you God for your love.
It is recited in a sing song fashion with an open palm extended to the sky at "sun above."
From Monica O'Brien:
Our family uses the traditional grace but we then light a candle at the table and add,
"Oh dear Jesus we light this candle in your honor because you are the light of the world."
At the end of the meal we "thank the Lord for all of our blessings"
and as our oldest son blows out the candle as we say, "Dear Jesus may your light shine through me everyday"
And a small example of the power of prayer on our lives - even the simplest of prayers;
As far as what Grace we use before meals, I have a very short story to tell. Several years ago, when we did not pray at all and my Catholic faith was about as lukewarm as it could get, I picked up a prayer card for families at a Catholic church I (sometimes) went to. It had family prayers for meals on it. I took it home and we started saying Grace. In addition to "Bless us oh Lord,...." , it had "Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us and for the peace and guidance of our family." It also had the prayer, "St. Joseph, help us to remember the poor."
These were our only family prayers for awhile. But they started the intercession of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Shortly after we started saying Grace, I came across Scott Hahn's conversion tape and then more books and tapes to teach me my faith. Then I started teaching my children the faith and preparing them for the sacraments. Then on the first day of the Great Jubilee, my husband decided after 19 years of marriage to go to Mass with his family! Praise God!
From Sonya Romens
About three years ago my children and I began studying Latin in our homeschool. We worked on memorizing several prayers, including "Bless us Oh Lord...." in Latin. So at every meal we would pray in Latin and in English.
Benedic, Domine, nos
et haec Tua dona
quae de Tua largitate
per Christum Dominum Nostrum.
Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these Thy gifts
which we are about to receive
through Thy bounty,
through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
My daughter, Anna, who was three at the time, was in a homeschool preschool group once a week and before their morning snack they prayed the Table Prayer. One day, after all the little 2 and 3 yr olds had just said their prayers, Anna looked up at me with a confused expression and asked, "Mom, aren't they going to pray in Latin?" She then insisted on finishing with a perfect recitation of the Latin table prayer, to the astonishment of the other moms!
Rebecca & Jim Hill report:
We use a Menonite prayer before our meals:
Come Lord Jesus,
our guest to be
and bless these gifts bestowed by Thee. Amen
What grace before meals does your family use? Write and let us know.