How We Pray: Mealtime

Love Another Child

We pray a lot. We’re surprised families don’t do so more often.

Example: We had dinner at a new friend’s home not too long ago. We stood around before the meal — together with all of our 13 kids — started to hold hands to say grace. The mom and dad of the other family simply said, “Let’s dig in!” We did, but it was awkward for us to start eating without first giving thanks to God.

Prayer is powerful, our method of communicating with the Creator of the universe. We do so in several ways, but especially before mealtime.

Since we remodeled our kitchen two years ago, we gather hands in a circle around our dinette area. Each meal is different.

  • Breakfast: One child gives thanks for the food. This even includes the 3-year-old sometimes.
  • Lunch: We sing a favorite song.
  • Dinner: Dad prays over the meal. When he’s gone, mom or the oldest child does.

Mealtime is probably the most traditional time we pray. We feel awkward “digging in” before eating.

How about you? Do you have a favorite mealtime prayer tradition?

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • KelliSue

    I think our children’s first prayers are probably in the company of their siblings at the dinner table. We encourage our children to begin their prayer by addressing Father in Heaven, then thanking him for our food, and other things they feel sincerely grateful for. Then we ask Him for blessings on those who need it, mentioning the needs we are aware of. We ask for a blessing on our food too. Right now we’re praying for Uncle Corey with Lymphoma, but the year before it was Uncle Robbie, in the Army in Iraq. We then close our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
    It seems our children can repeat a prayer (or ask us to help them) through about age 3.5, then they insist on doing in themself like the big kids. It’s fun to hear what they are grateful for, and who they ask to be helped. We pray before each meal, as a family, individually if we’re eating alone. We pray when we wake up in the morning, individually, then have family prayer together before doing chores. Then we pray before family scripture reading. Then off to the school bus some go. We have prayer at dinner time, then evening family prayer together before we send the kids off to shower and say their own bedtime prayers. I think the family that prays together stays together.

  • FaithfulWoman

    That’s awesome that you pray differently at each meal. But such a shame that you gave into the temption of the devil to be of this world and not just in it by abandoning your prayer when you were at your “friend’s” house. Doesn’t seem like a good influence at all.

    • Abby

      I really wouldn’t call this giving into the devil, they were simply met with a diferent family custom-a family that basically doesn’t say Grace, they thought they were about to pray and it didn’t happen, a slight awkwardness. Me and the Jeubs don’t agree on everything, but I’m pretty sure the Lord isn’t going to strike them with smite for not praying that one time. Most likely, they prayed another time for that meal. Friends can be friends without necessarily following the same patterns…..that family does things differently, maybe just prays at different times, and I’ll bet the Jeubs said thank you later, or in there heads. I really don’t believe this was a Devils influence

  • Vixthemom


    I think we all make mistakes. I didnt read the Jeubs as saying they liked not praying at a friends house. They said it was awkward.

  • Steph Theis

    Right now we “only” have 8 kids old enough to pray, so at dinnertime we go around the table, youngest to oldest, and each person says a prayer. At lunchtime we usually recite a prayer together. We have a world map on our wall above our table. We stick pictures of people around the world that we can pray for (missionaries, friends, etc) to the wall beside the map, and track their location with a string and a thumbtack.

  • Sheri Hepworth

    We always pray before mealtime. We take turns. At meals where hubby is home, he chooses who prays. I can understand your awkwardness at the friends’ house.

  • Mom2thirteen

    I am a mom of 12 on earth and 1 with the Lord. We pray at every mealtime. One other time that is consistent and regular is every time we get into the van we pray before we drive. I totally agree that prayer is so important. I can’t imagine life without it.

  • Janetkiessling

    We always pray before we go anywhere in the car!!!! You never know about those crazy drivers.;) Also, when we eat….we all say a special prayer together thanking Him for our food; then we start youngest to oldest and we say what we are thankful for…for the day!!! We try to instill in the kids that prays are very important & that He is listening ALL of the time!!!!!!

    • Chris Jeub

       I admire families who do this. We do this for big trips, but have not gotten into the habit for little trips. We should!

  • Markmuffy

    In our home we have Buddy teams and each team has Buddy Days.Those teams pray at mealtime and at devotion time each night.The buddy of the day gets to start reading out of the Bible first for the night’s devotion too.Blessings,Muffy Stephenson.

    • Chris Jeub

       Good idea!

  • 123

     Deuteronomy 8:10: “And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and shalt bless the Lord thy God for the goodly land which he has given thee”.  eat- then pray.  IM quite sure God doesn’t care if we do it in one big circle out loud or if we do it privately as individuals.. What i always stress to my 7 children is its important for them to follow ^. whether in silent or out loud is irrelevant.  Perhaps the reason you feel awkward is you too worried about tradition, and less about what God says plainly, simply, in context? is you too worried about tradition, and less about what God says plainly, simply, in context?

  • Just4jane4

    Absolutely!   The Bible says to give thanks in all things!  If we are not thanking HIM for the food that HE gives us, will we remember to thank Him in other things?  I think not.   

  • Kat

    Why does “Dad” lead the prayers at supper? Why not mom? Why only mom when dad is gone?