from the spring/summer 2016 issue of Reflections magazine.
To read this article in PDF format Saying Grace
by Sylvia Maddox
God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hand we are fed. Thank you God for our daily bread.
Many of us carry memories of sitting around the kitchen table as children, holding hands with family, and saying this prayer together. “Saying grace” at meals was the one moment we were aware that our families were knit together in faith.
Grace and gratitude have been described as two hands holding each other. It is natural to see that when we experience those moments of God’s grace, the most authentic response is gratitude. When we gather around the table before a meal even in times of tension and conflict, the communal offering of “saying grace” places us in the moment of awareness that everything good comes from God. Teaching our children to say grace is a way of celebrating the good we see before us and around us. It is a way of reminding ourselves and our children to stop for a moment, to be in humble recognition and trust that God’s goodness is forever.
In “saying grace” together before a meal, our children learn what is meaningful to us as they watch us pray in reverence. Even in a stressed work or home environment, they see us returning every day to the center of gratitude. “Saying grace” together can also be a way that our children teach us about gratitude. A preoccupied parent can be uplifted by joy in hearing his daughter sing out loudly “Thank you Jesus for our many blessings! Amen! Amen!”
We are called not to worry about doing it right or having the right words, but to join in an experience of awareness, joy, and gratitude for the gifts before us. When we “say grace” together, we are drawn closer to our family and all families throughout the ages.
Sylvia Maddox is a writer and educator. She is a member of Church of Reconciliation, San Antonio TX. Reach her at
For further reflection
Does your family say grace at meals?
What is your reaction when you see someone saying grace in a restaurant? Do you?
What is your favorite grace prayer from your childhood?
To read this issue in its entirety or to read other articles from this issue of Reflections, go here.