Ready, set, eat. Not exactly. For many families, a prayer of thanksgiving precedes settling in at the table. As grandparents, we can teach our grandkids to pray before meals. The fun way.
The reason for prayer before meals is simple. Whenever we’re given a gift we say, “thank you.” We don’t just tear into it and forget to express our gratitude. A child can learn this when someone shares a toy or brings them a birthday gift.
When a meal is set before them, it’s much the same. Food is a gift. It keeps our bodies healthy and strong, if we make good choices, and helps to fuel all that energy we see in our grandkids.
When we were growing up, we may have heard all about the starving children in other countries. These stories were told to prompt our thankfulness. However, for some of us, it brought tears.
A fun way to approach prayer before meals is to ask our grandchildren to look at their plates or around the table. Quickly have them name the foods they see. Then help them thank God for each food by name. It can develop into somewhat of a game, including peeking, but emphasize the most important part. Thanksgiving.
One prayer each
Another way to teach prayer to our grandkids, which involves everyone present, is to ask each one to pick a food on the table. Then we go around the table praying one prayer each. Grandpa gives thanks for green beans because they’re his favorite. Grandma gives thanks for the carrots she pulled from the garden.
Everyone present offers their thanks for the food of their choosing, including our grandchildren. If they say, “Thanks for goofy grapes.” That’s fine. If they lament the corn but give thanks anyway. That’s fine, too.
Some children will be reluctant to pray at first, but most will join in eventually. Especially if they receive assistance and a bit of praise afterward.
Prayers mature just as our grandchildren. Small prayers, instilled in the heart, have a chance to grow much bigger in the future.
If all else fails, there’s the simple, “God is good. God is great. Let us thank him for our food. Amen.”