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Thread: Mealtime Prayers?

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    Senior Member Ewergrin's Avatar
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    Clearly the word prayer is the problem here.

    I do not use it in the same manner that most people think of when hearing it. Perhaps invocation would be better, but we aren't really invocating anything specific. Incantation seems too sinister. So I am left with the word prayer, which conjuring images of servents on their knees in churches or mosques or temples. That is clearly not the case.

    We are but a small family of four: father, mother, and two young sons, who want to have a mealtime ritual blessing, if I may be so bold. We merely want to say thank you and show appreciation for each other, for the hard work that we do each day, not only for what goes into the nightly meal, but in our daily struggles as well. We want to give thanks to Earth for providing us with the food for us to cook as we see fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egil Skallagrimsson
    I have "prayed" occasionally to express gratitude for unexpected (and sometimes I think undeserved) good fortune. I have prayed for others in their adversity, but never for myself.
    I have never prayed to ask faviors for myself or anyone else. In fact, I'm not even sure that what we do at mealtime each night would even be considered praying. We're just showing thanks for the good fortune of being together and sharing a meal.

    I have the most serious doubts of the efficacy of prayer. Presumably, God, or the Supreme Bring, or whatever one calls this putative entity, is omniscient. If so, this Being is already aware of my needs. What , then, can it accomplish to remind the Entity of what he/she/it knows already ?
    This is a reasonable line of thinking, sure. But it could also be said, what harm is there in doing it anyway?

    On the other hand, I consider it churlishly impolite not to express gratitude for benefits which appear to have no human source. As the quotation marks in the first sentence indicate, I am uncertain whether this constitutes prayer. I am not asking for anything, just thanking whatever is responsible for my good fortune.
    Certainly prayer doesn't mean always asking for something. We never ask for anything. Showing gratitude and appreciation is our aim in "praying."

    I tend to think of prayer as wheedling and flattery of the deity in the hope of deriving some benefit from it.
    And most people who read this thread probably think of it the same way. In fact, I used to, and still think that way of traditional, denominational prayer.

    Yes, I used, when my mother still lived, to utter a conventional benediction at some meals, mainly on holidays. Borrowed from the table grace of some Episcopalian friends, it was orotund, formulaic, conventional, and insincere. I abandoned this hypocritical practise after my mother's passing.
    My intentions are not insincere. Why did you ever say it if you didn't mean it?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigrid
    Animals look to their pack or herd leaders, children look to their parents, people look to their kings and political or cult leaders but leaders and parents have no one to look to in higher or more powerful authority so they invented "God". If things work out hallelujah, if not then it is "God's will" that they do not. The situation achieves a cut and dried effect that is ironically open ended in that the deity may feel inclined to pity its acolytes and show lenience. Some are saved, some are turned to pillars of salt. Some win battles, some lose, even though both parties pray and often to the same "God". It is all very confusing and ultimately depressing and demoralising which is why the scientific and rational view has been so successful in releasing humanity from its bondage to "God".
    This is precisely why "God" has no place in our mealtime ritual.

    A table, laid with a frugal repast or an opulent meal, and a family there to hold hands and be thankful, as Evergreen mentioned, is a form of observance in itself. A few words just completes the scene and cements the union of folk and web.
    This is exactly what we are trying to achieve.

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    Mealtime prayers ?

    Why did I say it if I didn't mean it ? To please my mother who expected it, of course . (Anyhow, I had my fingers crossed under the table. :<) )

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    Love your avatar, Sigrid. "Seven stars and seven stones and one white tree."

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    Ted Nasmith's art, Egil. I love his interpretations the most, I think. I have a lovely job of Luthien from the Silmarilion section of Nasmith's web site gallery, dancing through a forest. She is decorating my desktop background at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigrid
    From the Elves' Little Book of Mealtime Prayers:

    Once again we gather here,
    The ancestors and spirits near,
    Earth to thank for gifts of grain
    Elements for soil and rain,
    And to the seasons and the sun,
    To moon and Powers one by one,
    To farmers toil and labour’s gift
    Our souls we to the High Ones lift -

    This vow eternal shall we keep
    To honour what we sow and reap.
    This one is quite good, I think. I may use it a few times and see everyones reactions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sifsvina
    In my family we just held hand silently, we still do when we all get together for a meal. It is an expression of appreciation of being together as a family.
    Good for you! The average American family today is too far removed from one another to take time to do this, and usually when they do it, it is out of obligation to the matriarch or patriarch's wishes, and is not sincere. What I want is a nightly bonding ritual where we all recognize the impact we have on each others lives and show gratitude and thankfulness for each other, the meal we have prepared and the origins of that meal: Mother Earth and the Cycle.

    I don't have a set something I say before a meal but I have often thought it would be a nice thing to do. I'm bad at doing regular things like that, hence the reason it would be a good idea!
    This was my problem as well. My parents are Baptists who tried to raise their children as Roman Catholics. Confusing, eh? They never said a meal time prayer unless relatives were over, or it was the hoilidays. I always stayed mute. In fact, my in-laws are a German-Irish Roman Catholic family who say a groveling prayer before EVERY meal. When we eat with them, my wife and I are mute.

    So, being "left out' of all the Christian groveling has made me want for my own family ritual, to acknowledge the forces that tremble our web of wyrd, and to reinforce the bond of family and , as Sigrid has said, "cement the union of folk and web." I really like that saying.

    Bah on all you anti prayer people (no offense intended:-) we can't let our disgust in christianity make us reject all that is positive about religion.
    I think the initial mistake was made by me in refering to it as a prayer. This word leaves a bad taste in the mouth of anyone who has grown to know anything about the true nature of Christianity or organized religion. Perhaps I should have used blot instead? Then, maybe, folks wouldn't have been so apathetic to the original intent of this thread?

    I certainly don't advocate the whiny supplication kind of prayer, or the demanding nor the self effacing kind but
    And neither do I. That trait belongs to prayers from people who believe that they are servents to a higher power. I believe that we are an important part of that higher power, though we call it by another name, and are not subject to a life and after-life of misery and damnation, based on our short time as bipedal carbon-based lifeforms on this thrid stone from the sun. Heaven lies within our hearts and hell is but a figment of your mind!

    the ritual of thanks, the formalized recognition of "the greater spirits", or the offering of thoughts to "those above" is a very healthy thing. So maybe you don't call it prayer but it is, a Blöt is prayer so is a Sumbel. To put our thoughts into order and send them out with clear intention is good for the mind and the spirit. It doesn't matter if there is "someone" there to hear. It's like meditation, it puts the mind in the right frame. Even asking for a bit of help doesn't have to be a bad thing if not done in a way that gives ones power away. Stating ones intention of what one wants to happen is a good thing. I was taught that it is best to need no one, to never need help at all but that left me lonely and unable to heal my broken parts. My greatest breakthrough came when I realized that it is human to need others and to recognize something greater in the world. Not as a pathetic dependent or a small worthless creature but as part of a greater system rather than a single human trying to be a whole world.
    You are always better with words than I am , and I agree 100% with this statement. There is simply nothing more I could add to this to express how I feel.

    So, as per Evergreens request, which I believe got only one real answer, I will offer some suggestions:
    "We give thanks to Mother Jorth for the abundance we share with her in this meal"
    "We give thanks to all the Gods and Folk who have brought us this bounty of the Earth"
    "We give thanks for this meal, may it make us strong so that we will make the Earth/Gods proud"
    These are quite good and I will use them. Thank you for them!

    Just a couple of thoughts off the top of my head. I hope when I have children I will have the discipline to give them such a gift as you are now Evergreen:-) I tend to be the more irregular type.
    Dear, it is for my children that I am doing this. They are the number one motivator of my search for the perfect mealtime blot/prayer/blessing etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd
    When I'm stuck somewhere I'm not asking my gods to sort it out for me, but rather like seek Thor to give me strength, Odin to give me wisdom, and Tyr give me justice to sort it out.
    That sounds reasonable. Not asking the gods to fix the problem for you but instead asking them to give you the strength, confidence, or wisdom to overcome it yourself. Then thanking them afterwords.

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    Blessing Over Food

    O Lady of the Harvest, bounteous Cerridwen,
    For the meat and bread that sustain us,
    And the wine that brings us joy,
    We thank you and promise you,
    That we will never use the strength derived from your gifts,
    To willfully harm your creatures or violate your laws.


    Table Blessing

    Thank you God and Goddess for all that you have provided. We are forever grateful for your blessings in our lives. So mote it be.

    Blessing Over Bread

    Mother of Plenty, bless this bread
    Father of the Grain, lend your seed
    Let it nourish heart and head
    Let it nourish thought and deed
    Let its breaking be a spell
    That hungry mouths be fed as well
    And let its eating keep us free
    As is our will
    So mote it be!


    Meal Blessing

    Blessed be the Earth for giving birth to this food
    Blessed be the Sun for nourishing it
    Blessed be the Wind for carrying its seed
    Blessed be the Rain for quenching its thirst.

    Blessed be the hands that helped to grow this food,
    To bring it to our tables
    To nourish our minds, bodies, and spirits.

    Blessed be our friends, our families, and our loved ones.
    Blessed Be.


    Bless This Food

    Goddess, bless this food you have given me
    Let it be filled with your divine energy
    So that I will be healthy
    And live a long and happy life.
    Goddess bless! Blessed be!


    Table Blessing

    From forest and stream, from mountain and fields, from the fertile Earth's nourishing yields, I now partake of the Divine Energy; may it lend me health, strength, and love.

    Table Blessing

    Creator, Sustainer and Life-giver, Bless this food to our use, and us to your service, make us grateful for all your mercies, and mindful of the needs of others. Amen.

    May We Appreciate and Remember

    Today may we appreciate this food and remember those who are hungry.
    May we appreciate our family and friends and remember those who are alone.
    May we appreciate our health and remember those who are sick.
    May we appreciate the freedoms we have and remember those who suffer injustice and tyranny.
    Peace on earth. Amen.


    Family Prayer for Grace

    God, Goddess, Divine Spirit of all there is, we thank you for this opportunity to gather together in one another's company. We thank you for the light you bring to this family gathering.

    Please grant us the vision to see the highest in one another, and grant us the opportunity to continue to be there for each other in good times, as well as not-so-great-times.

    Give us strength and fortitude to ride the tides of change, and empower us always to be nurturing and loving with one another. Open our spiritual eyes that we may see one another for who we truly are... and love one other in the same spirit.

    May sadness, disappointment and anger be minimal; may happiness, positive thoughts and good experiences together be bountiful. May we always cope, and hope, with each other... with grace.

    We thank the Divine for this delicious dinner, prepared with love. May all consumed here tonight fill us with health and well-being. Amen. Dig in!


    [Source]

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