Table Blessings

To make spirituality enjoyable for all ages from 3 to 93, many of these table prayers use hand gestures. Permission is granted to use any of these. Like folk music, you may add your own variations. The first six are usable for interfaith gatherings; the last two are specifically Christian.

Prayer with Hands as Grace at Meals
Leader: Invite group to join with the motions, repeating the words after you:
This is my daily bread (hands out in front, cupped, palms up);
Take it
(lift both hands slightly, palms still up);
Bless it
(place one cupped hand over the other);
Break it
(hands like breaking a loaf of bread);
Give it to everyone I meet this day
(lower hands, open toward others).
Second time: Invite group to follow the motions and say the words you.
Third time: Invite the group just to do the motions, without words.

Open-Eyed Grace: Gracias!
This table “grace” can be used at home or at church, temple, or community gatherings.
Leader say: “Be aware of our unity with all people and creation… breathing in the same air with rich and poor… Notice the food… smells… colors… Imagine the seeds… the dark soil, the bright sun… farmers planting it… migrant farm laborers harvesting with their hands.

Leader invite: Gently lift your hands on their behalf.
Conclude saying the word Gracias! three times in unison:

Gracias! Gracias! Gracias! (The Spanish word Gracias!  can mean “thanks” for the food and “grace” for those in need)

Uno, Dos, Tres…
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez:
Thank you for the food before us,
Friends beside us,
Love between us!
You may eat! (as all raise hands and clap!)
—Anonymous from a grandson’s preschool

God is Great, God Is Good
God is great, God is good (hands cupped in front)
and we thank God for our food.

By God’s love we all are fed, (hands stretched our to others)
Give everyone our daily bread. Amen.

Table Grace from Latin America
O God, to those who have hunger give bread,
and to those who have bread give a hunger for justice.
Repeat (explain justice as “fairness” if used with young children).

Johnny Appleseed Grace (sung or spoken)
If anyone knows the tune to this camp song, invite the group to sing:
Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
The sun and the rain and the apple seed.
The Lord is good to me! Amen! (clap hands once.)

For every seed I sow, there grows another tree,
And someday there’ll be apples there,
For everyone in the world to share.
The Lord is good to me! Amen! (clap hands once.)

Celtic Cross Hand Grace
Begin after everyone has food on his or her plate…
At top of plate: Join thumb, index and third fingers (either hand):
Move fingers from top to bottom of plate (toward you);
Think or say the words:
We give thanks that our paths have crossed;

Move fingers to left side of plate, then across to the right:
and we give thanks for the cross of Jesus;

Now circle the outside of the plate:
and we pray for God’s love to encircle the whole world.

Leader says: You’ve now made the sign of the Celtic Cross (cross with circle).
Invite group to follow your gestures and say the words; a third time without words.
—Kent Ira Groff adapted from a Swiss friend

Come Lord Jesus
Come Lord Jesus, Be our Guest,
And let these gifts to us be blest.

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