Saying Grace is a Thread in the Fabric of America

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.