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by Brian Jones

pray before meals

That’s how many days I estimate our family prayed together at the dinner table when I was a kid.

Calculating that number was surprisingly easy.

I took out Friday nights because that was pizza night. Everyone was responsible for praying his or her own prayer on the way to sacking dad as he walked through the door with the warm Massey’s Pizza box under his arm.

Then I removed Saturdays and Sundays from the tally. Weekends were survival of the fittest. We ate between games, trips to the grandparents, etc. We prayed for sure, but it wasn’t routine. So no prayers counted for those days.

That left Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. On those days we prayed before dinner every night, without fail. Except for the time when I was 14 and tried to back the car down the driveway to shoot basketball and accidentally ran over the mailbox. We didn’t pray that night. But that was it.

Usually dad prayed, but we’d all take turns.

That means that all together we prayed:

4 days a week
x 52 weeks a year
x 18 years
= 3744 days
– the day I killed the mailbox
= 3743 total times we prayed as a family before dinner

Some Christians don’t place a high value on praying before a meal. That’s a mistake. I believe that praying before dinnertime ranks second only behind going to church as the most important thing parents can do to impact their children spiritually.

5 Things That Happen When You Pray Before Meals As A Family

1. Praying Before Meals Gives Parents The Chance To Model That God Is Important.

In his book Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller wrote, “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself.” I agree. For 3,743 days I had the privilege of watching my parents close their eyes, bow their heads, and say, “Let’s pray.”

2. Praying Before Meals Marks Your Meal Together As A Sacred Pause In Your Family’s Day.

Flip through the gospels and it becomes apparent rather quickly that sharing a meal together entailed more than the consumption of food. Stories were shared. The day was recounted. Prayer simply invites God to be a part of the conversation that follows.

3. Praying Before Meals Prompts Lively Discussions About God And The Bible.

After praying I remember my sisters and I asking questions like, “How do you know God can even hear us? How do we know there is a God? If God answers prayer, what about the people who _______ (insert tragic accident that happened that day)?” No question was out of bounds.

For the rest of the post…

May 2017
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