Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Prayer {Day 2}: Mealtime

Before I begin today, I want to ask you to please pray for a fellow reader and her family.  Judy's husband was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor and will see his oncologist on Friday (she shared this with us yesterday in the comments).  As we are thinking of prayer this week, let's make sure that their family is covered in it. Thank you.

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You're rushing around, trying to get all the components of dinner ready at the same time- food cooked, food pulled from the fridge, the table set, the water poured.  Maybe, if your children are old enough, they are "helping" set the table or pour the water which may mean you're also trying to provide instruction so everyone gets a fork and so water isn't dumped everywhere.

Maybe you have everything ready and you call your family for supper and no one comes for a good five minutes while all the hot food turns kind-of warm.  It's easy to feel insulted.  After all this work, all they have to do is come and sit down and eat and yet...where are they?!

Or sometimes, everyone is sitting at their places early because dinner isn't quite ready or is taking longer to bake than you expected.  The family is hungry and desperate to dig in as soon as it's set in front of them.

All of this (and so much more) is reason enough to quiet everyone once everything is ready.  Quiet them and breathe.  Setting aside a few moments to pause, to reflect and give credit where credit is due.  I admit, I like to hear that the meal I prepared was good, but really.  Really, folks.  If it wasn't for the plants and animals God created, the means He gives us to obtain them and the strength and health He gives us to prepare them and eat them, we'd be experiencing a very different life.

I think we can sacrifice a few moments to say thank you, don't you? And if we're really present in the moment and really turning our thoughts and thanksgiving toward God, then mealtime (three times a day) can lead to meaningful prayer time that's already built in!

Encouraging our children to pray their own prayers out loud and exposing them to our out-loud prayers at mealtimes is teaching them to pray.  It's showing them that prayers don't have to be perfect.  That sometimes, we have to tack on requests after we said "amen" because we just remembered someone else we wanted to pray for.  When we direct their attention to the ways we see God during the day, it teaches them to look for God themselves.

And yet, so many of us (me included!!) sometimes treat mealtime prayer as a formality.  As something we have to say in order to get to eat.  In the past, our family had fallen into the habit of saying a standard prayer all together.  There is nothing terribly wrong with saying a memorized prayer in unison, but I think it lends itself to robotic praying.  Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could change this?  If we could take turns praying each night (kids included) or if we all went around the table and contributed to the prayer?  If we made it a meaningful time of praise, thanksgiving, repenting and asking for help...as a family...all seated together?

And if our food gets a little cold?  Well, so be it.

A Mini Series on Prayer {Day 1}

Prayer {Day 3}: Praying for One Another
Prayer {Day 4}: The World Pin It

6 comments:

  1. Oddly enough the hymn "Sweet Hour Of Prayer" has been running thru my mind this week. Imagine my surprise when I saw you were doing a series on prayer. Thanks!

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  2. "Blessed art tho for what we are about to receive,from Thy bounty,through Crist our Lord Amen.-------AFTER A MEAL YOU MAY CONTINUE---We give thanks for all Thy bounty O Almighty God.who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.May the souls of the faithful departed. through the mercy of God-rest in peace Amen. Thanks to all of your help

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  3. I agree whole-heartedly; meal time prayers teach our children and bond our families. Never a supporter of memorized prayer, we share about our prayer concerns while setting the table - then we are ready. As my kids have morphed into teens, time around the table is harder. I often miss those days of simple little prayers and all of us gathered around. Thank you for this post.

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  4. For a while, my kids thought we prayed for our food to cool down. We would dish them up so it would cool for them and then say the prayer. After a while, they wanted to pray whenever something was too hot.

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  5. Hearing my little ones pray boldly and thankfully is just what I need to get a right attitude after working hard on a meal and being tempted to feel unappreciated :) Wouldn't ever give that up for hotter food.

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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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