Monday, March 31, 2014

Meal Blessings for Families

A few months ago at Mass our priest shared a story about going to dinner at a parishioners' house. This family had invited him over because he was new in their parish and they wanted to make him feel welcome. As they sat down to dinner, the dad said to his family, "And now we will bless the food." And the kids said, "What?!" Apparently this was not a family that had made meal blessings a regular part of their dinner and the kids didn't know to play along. Our priest made a comment asking us what would happen if he came to our house for dinner. I laughed.
downloadable book

I'll admit we didn't always do a meal blessing. Before we had kids, I'm not sure it was a priority. I think it was teaching in the Christian Day Care I used to work at that really made this habit part of our daily meals. At the day care we prayed before each snack and each meal. That was four blessings a day. And when I started there the kids only really said one blessing.
(Sung to the tune of Frère Jacques)God our Father; God our Father We thank you; we thank you.For out many blessings; for our many blessings A-men; A-men
It's a nice blessing and the kids all knew it well. The problem was, I got tired of it pretty quickly. So I set out to find some new ones. I introduced them to the class and gave each of the kids a turn picking the blessings for the day. Of course, they had their favorites, but we had a little more variety and that made me happy.
Recently the topic of prayer with kids has come up at my church. There are many kids who are not learning to pray at home and the lessons once a week in Sunday School are not enough to make this important practice a habit. It got me thinking about those meal blessings again. Meal blessings are a simple and easy way to add a prayer to your day. Even if it's only at dinner, it's a good example to start setting with your kids.

I know my family had some favorites, but I set out to find more and make it as easy as possible for other families to get started. And then I decided to share it with you!
Below you will find a booklet you can print and keep to share with your family. I hope you enjoy using these prayers to start or continue a habit of daily thankfulness in your house. Please note, I did not create this blessings, I merely compiled them. They are all public domain.
Click here to download. It prints as a booklet, so print both sides, flip on the short edge. It is two double-sided pages.
Incidentally, in case we ever do get around to inviting one of our priests over for dinner (or if anyone one else comes over as a dinner guest) here's the blessing you'll most likely be invited to sing with us. And, yes, we do this one in public too. It makes a nice scene at restaurants! And watch out, because Benjamin will get after you for not raising your arms high enough!!

Does your family have a favorite blessing for meals?

Linking this up with:
The Walker Fireside Chats

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