Today I am so happy to have my good friend Annette Hubbell on the blog so to talk about her new book, A SPOONFUL OF GRACE, which is a truly lovely collection of mealtime blessings to share around your table, and to give one way to one randomly drawn winner. So do read to the end.
I’ve known Annette for nearly a decade, back when the idea for this book was just a new thought in her head. When she was finished with it, and asked me to read an early copy, I told her and I’ll tell you, I wish I’d had this book when my husband and I were raising our kids and sharing all those family meals together.
Annette has written a lovely guest post that follows about why saying grace together at mealtime is a great idea. If you have any questions for Annette and/or want to get in on a drawing for a free copy of this great book (so sorry but you must have a US address for the drawing), just pop them into the comments section.
Ten Reasons Families Who Say Grace Are Happier
by Annette Hubbell
“Mom, I think saying grace makes the food taste better,” my daughter announced the other day. “That’s probably not very scientific,” she went on to say, “but maybe it’s because when I do say grace I’m with people I love.” Then she thought a minute and said, “I have to start doing that when I’m by myself and see what happens!”
Do you find that opening a meal with grace brings an aura of harmony or calmness to the table? Saying grace before a meal does have many benefits—if Grace could be bottled or put in pill form, it’d be a bestseller!
If you come together as a family for dinner—and a 2013 Welch’s Kitchen Table Report asserts, perhaps surprisingly, that a majority of families eat dinner together most nights of the week—there are many reasons a heartfelt prayer before a meal will nourish your hearts, minds, and souls, as well as your tummies. Here’s why:
- Studies do show that saying grace with people you love—or even by yourself—affects your attitude, making the food taste better and aiding in digestion. Ever have a good food experience when you’re sad or angry? Probably not. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32).
- Saying grace means that—at least once every day—you acknowledge the presence of God in your life. Thanking God is a great way to develop a relationship with him, and he is just waiting for you to ask him into your heart. “I am knocking at your door,” Jesus says, “just waiting for you to let me in” (Matthew 7:7). Can’t you hear him say, “Let the miracles begin!”?
- Saying grace means that you take time to think of others, because a grace usually includes a request to watch over someone or praise for a blessing in another’s life. Let’s face it, the world of the young is self-centered by definition. Thinking of others helps in the character building process. Relationships are critical in the development of all God’s children and their ability to carry out His will. Galatians 5:22–23 tells us that the fruit of [having] the Spirit [within you] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Saying grace together promotes benefits such as family bonding and enhanced accountability. When you talk about things together, you’re sharing. And that, by definition, invites more than the stock yes, no, or ho-hum answer, because your understanding of each other grows when you interconnect, better equipping you to meet each other’s needs. “Truly, truly, I say to you,” says Jesus (in other words, listen up!), “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).
- Saying grace cultivates the confidence to converse openly about your faith. Paul directs us to be ready to season our conversation with salt (Colossians 4:6)—to act with grace, kindness, patience, and reluctance to judge. Saying grace provides opportunities to practice these character qualities with each other.
- Saying grace opens your mind to an attitude of gratitude. Did you know that the more thankful you are the happier, healthier, kinder, and more likeable you’ll be—and the better you’ll sleep? “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” asserts Paul (Philippians 4:13).
- The act of praying aloud together lifts one’s own spirit, fosters praise, and increases mutual feelings of appreciation. “A glad heart makes a cheerful face” (Proverbs 15:13a).
- Saying grace reminds us that our food, as well as God’s countless other daily blessings, is a gift. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2).
- Saying grace reminds us that God is always present. We don’t need to ask him to be with us but do need to acknowledge that he’s always there. “I am with you always, to the end of the age,” says Jesus (Matthew 28:20b).
- Saying grace, whether by yourself or with your family or others with whom you’re sharing a meal, sows the seeds of a thankful attitude. Being thankful for what you have fosters an attitude of wanting to make the world a better place and to give to others. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but the verifiable truth is that the more you give the more you’ll get: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
Mealtime is the hub of family life, and prayer is the foundation of a Christian home. Those who eat together, and make their time together about more than just food, are happier, healthier, and more loving. Those who regularly add a warm and loving grace to their mealtime already know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s not that incorporating prayer is a cure-all or in itself creates a life full of joy (It certainly won’t stop siblings from arguing). By making grace a part of your regular family mealtime experience, however, you open the door to possibilities unimagined. Family prayer heals, protects, strengthens family ties, teaches forgiveness, builds unity and brings the family closer together. “If you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you,” Jesus promises, “you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon” (John 15:7).
Some people think the meal is incomplete without dessert. Perhaps we’d all be better off if we made grace our dessert and adopted the motto Have Dessert First!