LET US PREY
In our family we pray together at dinner time. It’s supposed to be a reverant time to take a moment to thank the good Lord for all the good things he’s done for us – to show our gratitude for his blessings. But I noticed lately that we often rush through the prayer, as though it’s simply a ritual that must be endured before we get around to why we really came to the table in the first place. Especially if we’re eating in front of the TV we’ve been known to dive in to our food so we don’t miss any of the program and squeeze in a prayer during a commercial. It hurts to admit this, but it’s true. In short, often we show more enthusiasm for our preying than for our praying.
So here’s what I decided to do about it. Tonight at dinner, there will be no TV. Instead of having the family sit down with a plate full of food in front of them, I’m going to have them sit at an empty table. While stomachs growl and mouths water, we’re going to talk about what it would be like if our pantry and refrigerator were empty and we had no money to buy food. I’m going to ask my kids to imagine going to school hungry, or having no sack lunch to eat. I’m going to share with them that I’ve noticed all four of us falling into an attitude that lacks sincerety when it comes to showing God how grateful we are to him for what we have. We’re going to ask God to forgive us and then we’re going to thank him, sincerely, for our evening meal.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
UPDATE: The family looked at me like I was a little strange when I called them to the table and there was nothing on it. They complied when I asked them to sit down, but they looked like I might announce the death of a close relative or reveal I had been diagnosed with an incurable illness. I explained my conviction that we’d gotten off track with our mealtime blessings. Their faces grew sober as I told them about my post today and asked them to join me in a sincere apology and prayer. One by one we told the Lord we were sorry, asked forgiveness and thanked him for the privilege of having plenty to eat before enjoying our dinner. I think they got the point. And I pray there will be a renewed sense of gratitude here at the Allen house.