Sunday, January 8, 2012

So, Here's A Question

Back to resolutions.  That's where we were, right?
I suppose I'm the only one in the world who resolves each year to read/study the scriptures on a more regular basis and/or make it more study than read.  Right?  I'm not?  Go figure!

Of course, I also (always) resolve to make my prayers more regular, sincere and spiritual.  And to wait/listen for response.  And to make them more grateful than petitionary.  Sound familiar?  Maybe I'm not the only one.

So, let me tell you a story.  Several years ago I went to a business dinner, company wide.  Entertainment, awards, all of that essential business stuff that requires you to be away from home outside of business hours.  Large tables seating ten.  I was sitting with 9 women with whom I worked on a regular basis.  Three of us were LDS.  Dinner was being served and one of the other lovely ladies asked if we could bless the food.  Well, what are you going to do, say no?  So I agreed that it would be okay.  So she and several others reached out so that we could all hold hands while we prayed.  That isn't the way we pray at the table at home, but I'd already said yes.  So I joined hands and then dropped mine to below tabletop height.  I didn't want to be seen praying to be seen.  And, I was a little uncomfortable about the whole thing.

Since then, I've dined out frequently.  In fact, I love eating out, so frequently means at least once a week.  Just family, LDS friends, non-LDS friends, missionaries and just the two of us.  I occasionally bless the food, but not always and never out loud.  Some friends always want to pray over the food, aloud.  Others never mention the idea.  So, I am of two minds.  I am grateful for the food, for the hands that prepared it, and I want it to nourish and strengthen my body, and I'm also grateful for all the other blessings that I have been given.  (Does it sound like my blessing on the food is a little bit rote?  Yeah, to me too.)  But I am uncomfortable making a display of my prayers.

Here's another story.  Many years ago, when we were still in the Washington DC temple district I went to breakfast in the cafeteria.  We were eating breakfast first thing so that we could have the energy for several hours work.  I went through the cafeteria line, eggs, juice, bacon, biscuits...  my mouth is watering.  I got to the cashier and happened to be the first person in line.  The cashier asked me to bless the food.  What?  Yes, please bless the food for this meal.  Turns out that at the beginning of each meal time, they asked the first person in line to bless the food for that particular meal.  Who knew, unless you were that person.  I did, of course, you can't turn down a request like that.  And then, I watched as others came through later, paid for their meal, sat down, folded their arms, bowed their heads and prayed over their food.  I knew something they didn't know.  :)

So, do you or don't you pray in restaurants?  Do you pray silently or out loud?
Is there a right or wrong answer?

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell


Sylvia said...

Usually, in a public restaurant I don't pray over my food. Sometimes, if a family member suggests it, I do. And sometimes, it's even been out loud. One example was on a recent trip, when we prayed in the airport eatery over our food - vocally. Interesting situation. I'm not that comfortable with it, but it's just me, I think. :)

Have you seen the spoofs on youtube about "preblessed food"? SO funny! My kids quote this all the time and I remembered it when you shared your temple story. So, sometimes there IS preblessed food! :)

Katie said...

When we are with the kids, we will frequently offer a quiet, quick prayer (we frequently let one of the littles do it so it really is quick and quiet). If it is just the two of us, we usually do our own silently. I seem to recall a general authority addressing the topic in the past few years, although I can't find it in a quick search. My recollection was that he said he frequently prayed BEFORE going out for a blessing on the food he would eat. I did find an "I Have a Question" that discusses it, though:

shannon said...

We do bless the food...but it's usually quick and quiet---I like the idea of doing it before hand as a family. Food for thought! Ha ha ;)