Awake in the World

Awake in the World

The Grace of Saying Grace

When I was a child, not a meal passed when we didn’t “say grace.” Someone , usually my father, would take a meaningful pause. We would all bow our heads and he would begin, “Thank you for this meal that you have put before us.” The prayer only lasted a minute and as a child I found it mostly an annoying ritual that delayed my dinner. On the big occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, granddad had the honors and saying grace was more solemn and potent. Today I grapple with how to incorporate this into a daily routine. Sometimes with friends who also feel deeply spiritual one of us will say a prayer, chant or mantra before we begin to eat. Though we are of different religious backgrounds, Sikh, Hindu and Christian, we pray to the one God with many forms.


But in public and with friends and colleagues who don’t seem particularly interested in spiritual practice I pause before eating and repeat words of gratitude silently to myself. Sometimes my table companions recognize the pause, but most of the time they’re absorbed in other things and don’t. Saying grace in the traditional sense means, “a short prayer before or after a meal in which a blessing is asked for and thanks given,” according to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. The word grace derives from Middle English and Old French. It probably reaches back to Latin and we hear it in romance languages. In Italian the words for “thank you” are closely related to grace. They are “grazie” and in Spanish it becomes “gracias.”


During meals today, take a moment to remember the Divine. Say grace in whatever way or form appeals to you. Pause before the meal and enjoy the scents and sights of the food. Consider the hands that prepared it and the Earth that gave birth to it. Food connects us to many people in the process of getting to our tables. By saying grace and being thankful for the food, the blessings extend out to all who helped bring it to you.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2011). She is devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life.  Debra leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the world and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. Find out more at: and

Previous Posts

Discovering You're Enough with a Leap of Perception
If you’re feeling hemmed in and know that there’s much more to you than what you’re currently experiencing but don’t know quite how to access it, then “Leap of Perception,” by Penney Peirce deserves a read. Penney wrote about working ...

posted 10:16:51am Sep. 18, 2013 | read full post »

How Joy Finds Us: Interview with Mark Nepo
The things we need arrive at the right time, and so it has been with Mark Nepo and his work. For those of us on a spiritual path, Mark’s writings possess the power to immediately move us into connection with a subtle and powerful awareness at ...

posted 9:42:16am Jul. 16, 2013 | read full post »

Hot Rituals to Celebrate the Summer Solstice
Can you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s ...

posted 7:27:32am Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »

When Spirit Moves Us Out of Our Comfort Zone to Grow
Stepping onto the spiritual path isn’t all peace and roses. It pushes us into a place that moves us beyond our usual comfort zone. As we attune to the highest within us and listen to inner guidance, that guidance sometimes pushes us to try new ...

posted 8:04:01am Jun. 18, 2013 | read full post »

When Life Races By Replace Stress and Anxiety with Gentle Awareness
Even though I’m a seasoned traveler I still get stressed before trips. It’s not big jitters, just a general anxiety about: 1) Did I pack everything? 2) Will my travel connections go smoothly? And 3) What about the unexpected? Movement brings ...

posted 5:26:35am May. 28, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.