Our family has always had a habit of saying grace, offering a blessing, or giving thanks before meals. Does your family? Often one of the children wanted to say it. With a voice barely above a whisper, hands clasped in front, head bowed the prayer would be said: “Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat, for you for the birds that sing, thank you, God, for everything. Amen.” Sometimes they would switch it up with this one: “God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed, Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.”
I always smiled and my heart warmed to hear a young one pray, especially when it was voluntarily. Praying out loud is difficult for some people. Many people in fact have trouble with it. Teaching children to pray out loud with others helps them. They learn early that this is not a scary thing. It is just a conversation between God and His children.
My older grandson has been taught this lesson and it is ingrained in him. He is unable to eat without first giving thanks to God for providing it. Meal or snack, it doesn’t matter if he is at home, in a restaurant, or in their van getting fast food at a drive-thru, my sweet grandboy will not take one bite until a prayer is said. Don’t ask him to silently pray to himself. (“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matt. 18:6). He will be very offended and sad for God. The day after a recent family reunion we all met for lunch after church. The total number of family members at the Mexican restaurant was somewhere between forty and fifty, closer to the later. When the food came I thought the cousin sitting next to me, a pastor, would say grace. Not so. My grandson wanted to say it. He not only wanted to ask for God’s blessing on our food but also for my father, his great-grandfather, since it was Dad’s birthday. Another proud grandmother moment.
We give thanks to Abba because He gives us everything we have. The Bible instructs us to do this in Ephesians 5:20 “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus thanked Him before meals: “And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.” (Acts 27:35). “Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing.” Matt. 14:19
Meals are a great time to spend together with family. They are the perfect time to talk to our Heavenly Father and thank Him for the many things we have. Unlike some in the world, we are fortunate to eat without worry of if there will be food for another meal. My family is blessed and has much for which to be thankful. One of which is a sweet, kind hearted grandson that loves God and is not ashamed or too intimidated to pray out in public. Another is his parents for their teaching this to him.
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Matt. 10:32