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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sabbath Rest and Holiday Table Graces

Act 27:35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken [it], he began to eat.
Act 27:36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took [some] meat.

Holidays...a time when many tables--even those where the air is rarely stirred by the breath of a spoken grace--glimmer under that hint of added sweetness a blessing offers to those dining.

I thought this might be a fitting time to share one more devotion from Swindoll on the topic of spoken table graces. He offers five pointers on developing the art--and it is an art--of meaningful table graces in the company of family and friends.

1.) Think before you pray...consider specifically what is on the table. "Pray with those things in mind. Draw your prayer out of real life. Don't lapse into mechanical mutterings or convenient religious jargon."

2.) Involve others in prayer..."Try some sentence prayers around the table. Ask the family for prayer requests."

3.) Sing your table blessing..."Try it a few times. After the family has recovered from the shock of shattering the norm, it might catch on." Whether your family is more the type to sing the Doxology or a praise chorus, holding hands and singing a blessing can be a good way to break prayer monotony if it should be settling.

4.) Keep it brief, please..."There's nothing like watching a thick film form over the gravy while you...pray around the world three times." Swindoll reminds, "God's watching the heart, not totaling up the verbiage."

5.) Occasionally pray after a meal...especially "when the mood is loose or the meal is served in 'shifts' or picnic-style settings, be flexible."

A closing observation is worth noting: "Is your prayer time at the table losing its punch? Here's a way to find out. When the meal is over, and you get up to do the dishes, ask if anyone remembers what was prayed for. If they do, great. If they don't, sit back down at the table and ask why. You've got a lot more to be concerned about than a stack of dishes."

Swindoll offers this as a follow up activity to those who are serious about making meaningful meal blessings a New Year's Resolution: survey ten people about their meal prayers and consider what you learn as a result.

--from Swindoll's Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some good ideas for grace. I'm was trying to remember the last time I heard one that didn't sound mechanical. It was last week! At Ivy Tech's Chrismtas luncheon here in Kokomo. It was well spoken and meaningful.

    Merry Christmas to you
    (I was in your town last weekend - had some shopping to do and we ate at the Asian grill - yummy)