For many children, the first prayer they learn is their mealtime prayer...
God is good, God is great. Thank you for this food, Amen.
There are some slight variations, but it's always about the same. Short, sweet, to the point. It's really no wonder that it's an early prayer taught to children, it's easy to remember even for the young.
But here's the thing... I'm not a big fan of this prayer. Like I said, I get that it has its place and I fully understand the use of it...I don't even fault others for using it, but personally, I just don't care for memorized prayers. I prefer my children not to memorize, but to just say thank you Jesus, in their own words. It can be as simple as those three words or as silly as you know kids can be, "Thank you God for allowing mom not to burn the meatloaf." Hey, at least it's real, right?
That's what I want for my kids in their prayer life, I want them to be real. I want them to have a one on one conversation with God every time they pray. I want them to truly feel the words they are saying and not just say them robotically because that's the prayer they know. I want them to know that their prayers don't have to be memorized or the same each and every time but that its okay to mix it up.
But again, how do we teach that to kids...especially when this other way is so much easier? I know we can lead by example, but what if these prayers don't come easily to us either?
Today I'm sharing a book that might just help- A Spoonful of Grace:
ABOUT TWO MINUTES! That’s how long it takes to read each of these mealtime reflections. A Spoonful of Grace is a collection of 366 thought provoking, gratitude-building, supercharged daily graces. Each prayer is accompanied by a companion Bible verse and a conversation starter—impactful yet brief enough to hold the attention of hungry kids. As part of a well-balanced diet of conversations with God, A Spoonful of Grace:
- Sows the seeds of a thankful attitude
- Whets the appetite about the Bible and what’s in it
- Nourishes the heart, mind, and soul
- Taken with food, constitutes a complete meal
Now, maybe you're thinking...how is reading pre-written prayers any different than memorizing the same ol' one? But here's the way I look at it... each prayer is different. Did we come up with them on our own? No, but it again shows kids- and us too- that it doesn't always have to be the same. For those whom prayer doesn't come naturally it gives us a starting point. With 366 readings to read before each mealtime, but the end of the year, you're sure to feel inspired by these prayers and better prepared to say your own unique prayers too. In fact, even throughout you might find yourself using these merely as inspiration and making them your own too. Regardless it gives us completely unique prayers to say for each meal, and a great conversation starter too... what better mealtime conversation could there be than talking about Jesus!?
You can learn more about the author here:
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