Why I Stopped Saying Grace Before Dinner (And Regretted It)
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I Stopped Saying Grace, Here’s Why:
My faith journey has been an adventure! I have an unconventional relationship with God because I didn’t meet God in a traditional way. God rescued me from a life of promiscuity and abuse when I was a teenager. Since then I aim to follow Him in a real way every day.
Since my salvation experience was non-traditional, that’s how I’ve approached my relationship with God. Sometimes when I pray I call God “Daddy.” Sometimes my prayers are shorter because my faith is strong that day and I don’t see why I need to drag it out. I used to show up late to church because I didn’t care to fit other’s expectations of a good pastor’s wife until I decided showing up late isn’t giving God my best. If something doesn’t make sense I probably won’t do it, even if it’s tradition. I had lots of non-Christian family members at my wedding so we skipped the unity candle and communion, but we had worship music at the beginning and had our pastor preach the gospel through the metaphor of marriage. I don’t do things because religion requires it, I actively consider how certain things affect my relationship with God.
So when I became a Christian I decided it made no sense to say “grace” before meals. I didn’t grow up saying grace, and I didn’t see why I had to start. Unless I really didn’t trust the chef, I didn’t think it necessary to pray that food would go down well when I ate it or that “the calories would go straight to Satan.” To me it seemed to be one of those things that had no real meaning or benefit to my relationship with God.
The one person who I think has always used “saying grace” perfectly is my husband’s Uncle Rick. Uncle Rick is like my husband’s dad and he’s also a second dad to me. He was my youth leader in church and a father-figure to me before my husband and I even became good friends. Whenever I go over to his house and Auntie Andrea, his wife and one of my mother-figures, would cook a delicious meal, Uncle Rick would take the opportunity to pray for me during “grace.” It became normal for “grace” to be the time when we prayed for things other than the food.
That is something I adopted for when we had company over or when I went to lunch with a friend, but it’s not something I saw as beneficial in everyday home life until I had my daughter.
Here’s Why I Regret Ever NOT Saying Grace:
I have shared before that my little one is a sponge when it comes to the things of God, as all young children can be. We would read the Bible to her every day from when she was just 3 months old and by 13-month’s she was saying “Amen” in context.
It wasn’t until my daughter turned two and we started having regular dinners as a family that I realized the importance of saying grace before a meal.
One day I decided, “Let’s pray before we eat.” Surely enough, every family dinner after that my daughter became obsessed with making sure we prayed before eating. She often asked us to grab hands and say grace in the middle of the meal and after it was done.
I regretted that I hadn’t made saying grace a habit in the first place. Saying grace is not a meaningless religious ritual, it’s an opportunity to practice a core spiritual discipline.
Saying grace is not a meaningless religious ritual, it’s an opportunity to practice a core spiritual discipline.
Saying Grace Is An Opportunity
Reintroducing “grace” to our family created a tradition where my daughter is learning how to talk to God. It’s an easy, judgment-free, appointment for prayer that can be implemented at every meal. Just a few moments of sincerity, versus a pre-scripted prayer said apathetically can be powerful enough to affect eternity.
We aren’t strict about it in our household, but we certainly value saying grace more than ever before and I will never make the mistake of dismissing its potential impact again. And I’m rethinking not doing things just because they seem too religious, and instead I’m look for the original meaning of certain rituals so that I can have more ways to connect with Jesus.
Your turn: Is there anything in your relationship with God that you do just because you’re supposed to? How can you find new meaning in those things instead of removing them altogether? ⭐️
Hey sis! I’m Imani, the Jesus-loving pastor’s wife & toddler mom who is writing here to help you “be a blessing” in your day-to-day life. Also, I’m probably dancing to Michael Jackson right now.