8 November, 2010  |   11 Comments

Saying Grace

How we eat dinner

I had always struggled with whether to pray before dinner. I wanted a way to say thanks for the food and acknowledge Ms. Earth’s contribution to our meal without bringing capital R Religion into it.

Something a little more than,
“Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub.”

And something a little less than,
“And these thy gifts from thy bounty…”

As these things happen, we found our groove naturally.

Every night before dinner, we hold hands around the table, the oldest, the youngest (well, sometimes the youngest, James and I. We list the people we’re thankful for.

The oldest usually adds herself a few times.
(I’d add her a few times too.)

I’ve been on the lookout though, for non-religious-pre-dinner thank you’s that bring in the food, the animals, the vegetables and the community we’re going to share and I’m coming up short.

All the pre-meal graces seem to be very religious.
And that doesn’t quite meet my needs.


It doesn’t make it any easier that to help all our guests feel more comfortable, I replaced “grace” with “toasts.” Toasts keep folks of all faiths at ease. But they’re not exactly the sentiment I’m looking for, you dig?

So I’ve written my own non-religious pre-meal thank you graces. They’re not toasts, they’re not prayers (exactly) they’re just a way to experience gratitude for the meal, the community and the nourishment you’re about to share…

We end our grace with a hearty “AMEN.”
It feels right to our family.

But I’d also recommend a hearty, “THANK YOU” or “YO HO HO.”
Actually, kicking off the meal with a “YO HO HO,” sounds kind of awesome.


We are so grateful for this food,
it restores our strength,
it heals our bodies,
it fuels our brains.

We are so grateful for this time,
to renew our spirit,
to share our trials,
to find new strength.


All that we have is a gift.
May we be thankful.
May we celebrate.
May we share.


For our friends,
for our families,
for our meal,
we are thankful.

For life,
for healing,
for joy,
we are thankful.


Thanks to the earth for the soil.
Thanks to the sky for the rains.
Thanks to the farmers for the harvest.
Thanks to our friends for the love.


May this meal we’re about to share help our spirits shine brighter.
May this brightness send darkness away and
warm the hearts of strangers.


11 thoughts on “Saying Grace

  1. 1
    elaine says:

    we do this one sometimes, which i really like:

    earth who gives to us this food
    sun who makes it ripe and good
    sun above and earth below
    our loving thanks to you we show
    blessings on our meal

  2. 2
    Katherine says:

    This was the one we did at my house when I was a kid:

    Oh, the Earth is good to me
    And so I thank the Earth
    For giving me the things I need;
    The Sun and the Rain and the Appleseed.
    The Earth is good to me.

  3. 3
    Helen Jane says:

    Love it! We’ll add it to our list for sure.

  4. 4
    Amy says:

    I always loved the Johnny Appleseed song that Katherine mentions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJb83gM2Vpo

  5. 5
    Laura says:

    Here’s one that I sort of sing with my neices and nephews…

    Thank you for this food, this food.
    This glorious, glorious food!

    And the animals, and the vegetables, and the minerals…that make it possible. Whoo!

    It’ cute, and they love it!

  6. 6
    Alyce says:

    My great-uncle had a fun and funny one that I wish I could remember. Let me see if I can find a family member who has it in their noggin.

    Mostly my husband and I thank each other – no matter who cooked or shopped – because both of us put it there.

  7. 7
    esully says:

    good one, HJ. i love the sentiment and the careful thought. i’m grateful for the hearnseseses!

  8. 8
    mary beth says:

    thank you for the food we eat.
    thank you for the children sweet.
    thank you for the clothes we wear.
    thank you for the nice, fresh air.
    Aaa-men! (optional yo ho ho)
    -Jack and Jill Pre-School circa 1979, oldie but goodie :0

  9. 9
    Pam says:

    Just had to tell you how nice it is to having you writing again. 🙂

    Your grace is lovely.

  10. 10
    Savitha says:

    Same as the one listed by Mary Beth above except, the last two sentences (as told by my kids) are
    Thank you Earth for everything
    Bon Apetit, You may eat. (this is particularly cute as it is our little one–channeling Julia Child–saying it in all earnestness a 3-yr old can muster).

  11. 11

    […] had this issue before, as I thought about saying grace. I don’t want my gratitude to be capital R Religion. I also want it to be special for […]

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