Praying before dinner...

[deleted account] ( 25 moms have responded )

Some background.... when we have dinner anywhere with my in-laws (whether it's at THEIR house or at OUR house, out for dinner in public, or even at MY PARENTS house) they 'encourage' us to pray before our meal. My FIL will usually be the one to say a prayer BEFORE any of us touch our food. I follow along and encourage Roxanne to do the same but I admit it makes me a lil' uncomfortable. I don't mind doing it in their home out of respect for them but is it appropriate for them to expect to say 'grace' in my home or even more strangely, at my parents home? I LOVE my in-laws and my parents have great respect for them and my parents said that it doesn't bother them, but, I know that it really bothers my brother and his wife.....they feel that it's disrespectful to insist that we all refrain from eating, bow our heads and pray to a God that they don't believe in. For me, personally, I don't really care.....like I said before, it feels silly to me but I also don't feel any need to protest!

What are your thoughts? Would you be offended if someone asked if they could pray at your table and hoped you would join in?

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Johnny - posted on 07/04/2010

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Anyone is welcome to pray in my presence, for whatever reason they deem it necessary. In their house, in my house, in a restaurant. A silent personal prayer or a spoken grace. I have no issue with it. And I will patiently and politely wait to resume conversation or eating until they are finished.

If they expect me to pray, they can get bent. I don't pray, I don't pretend to pray, I don't fake pray.

Krista - posted on 07/04/2010

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That's a tough call. Obviously at their house, I would have no problem with them saying Grace, or what have you. At my own home, I'm torn between wanting to be a good hostess and not wanting religion imposed into my house. So I think a good solution would be to say something like, "Let's have a moment of silence before our meal so that we can each think about our blessings and the things for which we are thankful." And it should be the host or hostess saying it, not your FIL, unless he is specifically asked to do so.

Amie - posted on 07/05/2010

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If they presumed or encouraged myself or others in my home to pray before dinner. Yes I would be offended. I grew up a Christian and we were taught manners. We always asked beforehand if we could say a prayer. No one ever denied us that and always just sat quietly if they didn't want to join in.

I no longer label myself a Christian, it was something done in our home to make my grandmother happy. None of us believe though, even growing up with the bible.
I have no problem if people are courteous about it. I have no problem with them doing it in their own home. I have no problem with my children exploring with it if they want too. I will never give my approval to someone who tries to push it on the others around them. And yes, someone coming as a guest to anyone's home where they know others are not religious and insist on prayer is trying to push it and it's rude.

I'd never come into someone else's home and say I don't believe so I encourage you not to pray. /:) It's respect; Goes both ways.

Jaime - posted on 07/05/2010

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If I'm at someone's home and they insist on praying before dinner then so be it, but I will not join in. I will wait and eat with them but I will not bow my head and pray. If I'm at home and my guest wants to say a prayer, have at 'er but don't expect me to join you. Prayer doesn't offend me in the least, but the expectation to do so is what would cause an issue. As long as both parties agree and respect one another, then it shouldn't ever be a big deal...I don't however, think it's right for your guests to insist or encourage people to pray if they don't want to.

Mary - posted on 07/27/2010

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As long as they are not obnoxiously insistent that everyone join in, I really don't see the problem. The older I get, I really do see the wisdom in not only picking your battles, but also in choosing who you do battle with.

While I see your brother's point, I think it's something he should just let go. Honestly, how often is he sharing a meal with your in-laws? If it's just the odd holiday meal or family gathering, how much harm is it really doing him? More importantly - how much of a hassle would it be for you if he decided to make an issue of it? Would it then make future blended family events awkward? Sometimes I really do think it's best to let your rightous indignation go for the sake of family harmony.

It wold be different if your in-laws spent the entire evening preaching and trying to convert all of you, but what your post suggests is that this is just a brief minute or two before a meal. If it were me, I would simply allow them this courtesy, and for those who do not share their beliefs, they can simply sit in silence. Unless your in-laws are making a big to-do about every one holding hands and actively participating, I just don't see it as a big deal - or worth the fall-out if you insisted that they cease and desist for your brother's sake.

My in-laws are fairly conservative, religious people. They hold a lot of beliefs that are in direct contradiction to mine. However, I only see them about 5 or 6 times a year. When my FIL starts in on topics that I vehemently disagree with him on, such as abortion, guns or some of his other more close-minded views, I just sit mutely, or try to tactfully leave the room. It's not that I in any way agree with him, but I also realize that I am not going to change him, and arguing with him would only cause a great deal of discomfort and awkwardness for every single one of us, especially my husband, and ruin those few occasions a year when his family is all together. It just isn't worth it in this situation to be "right".

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Emma - posted on 07/27/2010

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I have no prob with someone saying grace i will just give them a moment to do there thing,
i will not join in as im not a hypocrite and my friends and family know better than to try and get me or my kids to say grace.

Stifler's - posted on 07/27/2010

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No! I would get over it. It's not even that big a deal they are offended because they want to be.

[deleted account]

We are not religious people, but we are respectful people. If I am invited to someone else's home and they pray before a meal, when then they do. I do not feel obligated in any way to join them. In all honesty, I do not know h ow I would feel if someone wants to say grace before a meal in my own home. It's never come up, and I am sure it never will. We just don't hang out with overly religious people. I suppose if I invited people over for dinner and they normally pray before a meal, then go for it. Again, I will most likely decline and would feel uncomfortable saying a fake prayer.

Hannah - posted on 07/09/2010

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We don't prayer before any meal although we are very spiritual and believe in God. I don't think anyone should feel forced or obligated to do anything that they don't believe in. I would ask your husband to have a talk with his parents and ask that they at least ask if prayer is minded before they just start praying, as not all people are religious in the same way.

Jessica - posted on 07/09/2010

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My MIL is exactly like this. She's a very pushy and bossy person to begin with, and as much as she is a nice individual and has helped us on many occasions, she really annoys the crap out of me most of the time, lol. Praying before eating is one of the biggest things she is pushy about! She insists on doing it before every single meal, anywhere we are- her house, our house, out to eat. Including a really informal meal like McDonalds or ordering pizza. I'm not religious really, so I find it kind of annoying, especially since she insists on doing it every.single.time. DH is religious (though in a very "quiet" way- deeply believes in God but doesn't go to church or anything) and I think he finds it annoying too. Kind of like what others said, I understand if its in her home, but when she insists on it everywhere, even in our own home, I find it overbearing. She also makes a big show of trying to get DS to put his hands together and say amen- which also bothers me. Not that I'm against religion or against DS being religious some day, but I don't feel like its her place to step in and start teaching him that stuff. Maybe I just sound like a big bitch, but those are my feelings on it!

Veronica - posted on 07/09/2010

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we pray also -- but I wouldnt expect anyone to pray with us, if they didnt want to. We actually had an incident last summer - my friend was over with her two girls - we did supper together, as her boyfriend and my husband are both gone at the dinner hour - so we like swapping cooking nights. As we sat down to eat, my children insisted that we pray -- and her girls didnt know what it was about. But my friend wasn't offended by the gesture, she just simply explained that her and her daughters do not pray over their food - and that he could go ahead a pray for his own food -- it was a nice median, and my friend was very nice about it :)



edited to add that I was not offended that they didnt want to pray either.

Andrea - posted on 07/08/2010

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In my house we eat to together but we don't pray before a meal. We believe in god but we are not religious. If I'm in someone else home and they prayed. I would join in out of respect for there home but would feel uncomfortable. If I was in my home and a guest wanted to pray before a meal I'd hope they won't get offend when I declined to do so.

ME - posted on 07/08/2010

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If I am in someone elses home, I bow my head respectfully while a prayer is said before a meal, why shouldn't someone who comes into a home where prayers are not said show the same respect for that family?

[deleted account]

we say grace before any meal.. thats us.. we do it whether there are people there or not.. if they dont want to we dont make it a point to be like oh you didnt participate lol.. we do it in restaurants lol.. if they want to observe and/ or not participate thats just fine

Jaime - posted on 07/05/2010

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I don't think it's a matter of discomfort...I think there are just some people that don't want to hear prayer out loud. Why can't the religious folk just pray silently? I mean it's not like God can't hear you...well unless he has his ear plugs in of course!

Christa - posted on 07/05/2010

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I would say let them pray, but anyone who is uncomfortable doesn't have to join in. I imagine it's a short grace and it's just words if you don't believe. Let them have their comfort and then move on. I will never understand why a person praying out loud makes anyone uncomfortable. But that's me. :-P

Tania - posted on 07/05/2010

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I'm with most on this one. Personally I don't know or hang around any family or friends who pray before supper or any meal for that matter unless its a holiday like Christmas.
I would hope people would respect that in my home but if they wanted to do a silent prayer thats fine.

Lucy - posted on 07/05/2010

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I think that this is such a personal thing that nobody can expect others to "do it their way" whatever the circumstance.

My Uncle, to whom we are very close, is a retired C of E vicar, and if we are eating at his house, we wait quietly whilst he or my Auntie says grace. But he would NEVER expect us to join in.

We are Pagan, and in our religion it is more common to bless the food as it is cooked, and thank the Earth for it's gifts at the table. When my Uncle eats at our house, he doesn't say grace, and waits quietly whilst we give thanks. But we would NEVER expect him to join in.

When my husband and I got married, my Uncle and Auntie came to our hand fasting to show their love and support, but refrained from joining in the ceremonial circle. When my cousin (their daughter) was married, we were at the church to show our love and support, but refrained from joining in with the prayers.

you can show respect for someone else's beliefs and traditions without having to participate in them.

Becky - posted on 07/04/2010

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Well, since we pray before meals, I certainly wouldn't be offended if someone asked to pray at our home before a meal. Well, if it was a Christian prayer. If they were saying a prayer of another religion, I wouldn't be offended, but I would feel odd about it. I'm not sure whether I'd allow it or not, to be honest.
Anyways, we pray before meals in our own home and when we're out at a restaurant. If you're eating at our home, we'll pray before the meal. However, we'd never impose that on someone else in their home. My inlaws are not Christian and don't pray before meals, and so we don't do that in their home. Even with Christian family members or friends, if that's not their practice, we don't ask them to do it. I think that's rather disrespectful to expect someone to cater to your practices and traditions in their home.

Shelley - posted on 07/04/2010

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As a Christian i am used to praying before a meal but i wouldn't expect our non christian friends or family to have to take part. When on our own or in our home or with other christians we do. When with others we don't feel its our right to push our beliefs onto other people

Meghan - posted on 07/04/2010

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I really like Krista's answer! Do you think you could swing it so everyone was silent and prayed (if that is their gig) or just thought about what they are greatful for. We do an open thought session on Thanksgiving and I am the one who inforces this one. Everyone goes around and says what they are thankful for...whether it be God, for me it has been my beautiful son and great support from friends and family, my sister last year said birth control (HAHA)...maybe that way everyone can feel a little more comfortable while at the same time your inlaws can express their beliefs?

Charlie - posted on 07/04/2010

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I wouldnt mind if they did it in my home as long as they didnt expect me to join in .

[deleted account]

This is what we personally do: Obviously, in our home we pray as a family before every meal and before we go to bed. Eliza joins in, which is just stinkin' cute. In our relatives homes, who are also Christians, we will say a prayer. Whoever's house we're at says the prayer or will ask someone to do it. If we are in a friend's home who is a Christian we will pray. We will pray as a family at restaurants.

Okay, so to answer your question, because in all of those scenarios most people are Christian. At girls' night, where about half my friends are Christian, one is Buddhist, one is atheist, and one doesn't care and hasn't labeled herself, I say a personal prayer. I'll bow my head before I eat and pray silently, even if everyone is talking around me. My unaffiliated friend and I took our kids on a play date last week. Before Eliza and I ate our greasy chicken nuggets and waffle fries, we bowed our heads and prayed together. My friend just giggled and said, "(Kid's name) wouldn't know what to do if I told him to pray."

So my point, I'll pray no matter where I am. The place and company just determines if I'll do so with the group, or silently to myself.

Rosie - posted on 07/04/2010

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if it happened to me i would feel the same way. my side of the family that is religious like that hasn't ever been to my house so i don't have that problem, but whenever i'm there at their house i politely bow my head and pray.
IF they were to do it at my house, i'd oblige, but feel as you would. i can guarantee that it would happen if they came over. but my problem is that they don't know i don't believe anymore so, i don't really feel like facing an intervention EVER (which i can guarantee will happen), so they will never know, and i will have to keep my mouth shut for the rest of my life. :)

[deleted account]

P.S. Not that any of you would, BUT, please don't hold back your feelings because you don't want to offend me.....I WELCOME ALL comments!

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