womanpraying“And he (Jesus, at the Last Supper) took the bread, and, when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them,” Luke 22:19

Truth be told, saying grace around our house is a hit or miss proposition.  I usually remember if it’s a more formal occassion, like the wife and I at dinner.  But eating with the grand kids I may forget.  Though when I remember, it’s likely to be monotoned “God is great.  God is good.  Let’s us thank him for our food.  Amen,” from Austin, my six-year-old grandson who usually leads grace at family gatherings.

If I’m by myself, say at McDonald’s, I usually forget to blesss the hamburger and fries.  Or for meals with acquaitances–like a business lunch–it’s sometimes ackward to wait for a break in coversation so you can silently pray while your peers may or may not say grace.

If I’m self conscious folding my hands and blessing the food, I push through and say grace any way.   How can I let being self conscious stop me, when the Lord again has provided a meal.  I’m reminded that many people around the world–including those Americans–are hungry.

A recent survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation of 1,686 Americans found that saying grace is a common practice.  Eighty percent of African-Americans, sixty percent of Hispanics, and forty percent of whites regularly say grace at least a few times a week, according to the poll.  It also found that 74 percent of white Protestants and 52 percent of Catholics say a quick prayer of thanks over their food.  The survey is filled with intriguing statistics.

“Saying grace is a widespread practice in the United States.  About half of all Americans take a minutes to say a prayer over their food,” according to The Post’s story.

Like threads laced through the fabric of a quilt, the majority of Americans say grace.  It is another ritual that makes us Americans, American.