One of my family’s traditional and distinctive times of prayer together is during the holidays. In particular, I have fond memories of the prayers before dinner at my grandmother’s house on Thanksgiving Day.
The table would be spread with an abundance of food items – turkey, dressing, and gravy; ham, greens, and macaroni and cheese; cranberry sauce and hot buttered rolls just to name a few. The place settings were complete with the appropriate silverware, glassware, plates, and special napkins. Through small openings in this elaborate, culinary display, one could scarcely see the lovely Fall colored tablecloth that covered the dining room table. And oh, the aroma! You could almost taste the food by the smell alone.
The desserts waited to be unveiled on the breakfast room table. Pound cake, an occasional peach cobbler, and grandmother’s fabulicious sweet potato pie. She always made enough pies for us to take a whole one home. Yummy!
Before we began feasting, we would always form a circle around the table and join hands for the blessing of the food. However, when grandmother prayed, you could be sure she was going to pray for more than the food. These were special and sentimental times. Grandmother was grateful to have her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, play grandchildren, a cousin or two, and a few friends gathered to give thanks and eat.
So grandmother would thank God for the food and ask Him to bless it. She would thank Him for everyone present and for His presence. Then she’d begin to recall all of His goodness, starting with creation, on to the forgiveness for our sins, all the way down to the roof over our heads. “Been so good, Lord and I just wanna thank Ya!” she’d chant. Grandmother asked God for strength and thanked God in advance for it. Grandmother let the Lord know that she did not take His goodness for granted, acknowledging and praying for those who were without family and food.
With a crackling cadence, Grandmother prayed fervently like a seasoned veteran of a Baptist church mother’s board. It was the kind of prayer of faith that let you know she knew the One she was calling on, and it was not her first time talking to Him. But on holidays, we did not offer a quick grace to get to the grub. When the prayer finally ended, like clockwork one of us young folks would say, “Now we have to reheat all the food!” 🙂 It was all in love and fun.
The family holiday prayer was as important as the favorite dishes we enjoyed annually. To this day, as we reflect on old memories and the life of my grandmother, my siblings and I joke about her long-winded benedictions. It’s our way of remembering the joy of the occasion, the blessing of family, and the tradition of grand prayers.
TaVon Morrison © 2016