Saying grace before each meal is an incredible way to teach children about the importance of gratitude. In a world in which so many people go to bed hungry, the decision to say grace before each meal is one that can help transform kids’ understanding of the world around them.
Mealtime prayer also serves a number of other important purposes, offering parents and kids an important and powerful time to connect together after their days at work and school.
So, let’s explore some important tips that will help you and your family more intentionally say prayer at dinner:
Saying Grace More Intentionally
First and foremost: we must be intentional about mealtime prayer. It’s worth you and your family making a joint commitment to say “thank you” to God before every meal. This will help encourage children and adults alike to remember that it is the Lord who has provided for them.
Be sure to make prayer before dinner a fixture in your house. As a parent, you can set the standard by offering powerful examples of gratitude in your own prayers with your children.
Simply make a pledge to say grace before breakfast, lunch and dinner — and hold one another accountable to being sure you live out this proclamation. In addition to emphasizing gratitude, mealtime prayer is one way to solidify invocations in kids’ lives.
Explain the Purpose of Grace Prayers Before Meals
It’s easy to fall into a pattern of repetition — one in which mealtime prayers no longer take on meaning. But it’s important to periodically explain to your kids why we say grace before meals. This can serve as a powerful and routine lesson about the importance of prayer and of reliance upon God.
Rather than a boring habit, try making grace a powerful time to discuss God’s blessings and provisions for your family. Take the time every few weeks to pause and explain the importance of gratitude in light of the fact that so many people lack food and basic resources.
Fold in prayers for those who are less fortunate as well. These invocations can even serve as conversation starters surrounding how you and your family can step up to the plate to help individuals and families who are in need in your communities.
Be Creative When Saying Grace Before Meals
Try to find ways to be creative when it comes to mealtime prayer. Perhaps consider going around the room each night and allowing everyone to thank God for something good that happened to them that day or in the days leading up to each meal.
Or, consider simply taking turns praying each night. This gives each and every family member the opportunity to lead mealtime prayer — and the chance to think more deeply about what God has done for your family.
If you see that the prayers are getting repetitious, take steps to change them and encourage each child and adult to really think deeply about gratitude so that they can express heartfelt thanks for the food and all they’ve been given.
Look to the Bible for Mealtime Prayer Inspiration
One of the best places to look for grace prayer ideas is the Bible. The scriptures are filled with proclamations and lines worth considering when it comes to crafting powerful mealtime prayers.
Here are just a few grace prayer verses worth reflecting on before and during meals:
Psalm 136 offers some important reminders about God’s love and the necessity of thanking the Lord for all he has given us:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. … He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” -Psalm 136:1-3;25-26 (NIV)
1 Corinthians 10 teaches a simple yet important lesson: to glorify God in all we do. We should remember to give thanks as well:
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
Psalm 27 and Psalm 145 acknowledge that God is the giver of food, and encourages us to praise Him:
“All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. … May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works.” -Psalm 27-28;31 (NIV)
“The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” -Psalm 145:14-16 (NIV)
Prayer at Dinner Should Always Be Consistent
Be sure to be consistent when it comes to mealtime prayer. Many people skip invocations when they’re out to dinner at a restaurant, but why not invoke God there as well? Commit to saying mealtime prayers with your family no matter where you are dining.
Plus, it’s worth noting that saying grace before each meal at a restaurant is a great way to not only show consistency, but also to show your kids the importance of thanking God in every location and circumstance.
While it might feel strange to pray in a room filled with strangers, consider that this commitment also teaches children the importance of living out their faith no matter the setting. This can be a great benefit to their spiritual learning and progression.
Look Online for Grace Prayer Options
The Internet has no shortage of advice on how to pray before meals — and of potential invocations you can share before your kids. In fact, we’ve assembled 10 mealtime prayers you can consider if you’re looking for ideas surrounding how to pray with your family at dinner.
And it doesn’t end with dinner prayers. Pure Flix Insider also has plenty of other prayer guides to help spark ideas for morning invocations, bedtime prayers, prayers for mothers, and prayers for forgiveness, among plenty of other topics.