Open this book to any page, and you will find meaning and beauty in every prayer. Food blessings provide a window through which we can see that we all share a profound spirituality that connects us to humankind, nature, and the infinite.
The thanksgiving food blessing is the prayer said most often in the home. This is its essential beauty. Saying a blessing before a meal can bring us closer to our brothers and sisters, parents, and friends. Asking a friend to choose and recite a food blessing is a wonderful way to welcome that person into a family setting. The occasional gathering for prayer, no matter how brief, can keep the heart and mind in touch with the most fundamental of joys: belonging.
For any child who can read, this book gives young ones an opportunity to lead the family in prayer, to participate actively in a family ritual, rather than remain subordinate, passive members at the table. Children will also discover that food prayers provide an interesting and informative educational experience, stimulating the mind with a variety of subjects: nature, history, spirituality, religion, people, and customs of other cultures throughout the world. Whether impromptu words or a formal prayer, the food blessing is a powerful medium to enrich the meaning of family and bring us into contact with a higher realm of spirituality.
While prayers often derive from specific religious contexts, they may be experienced and enjoyed by all, just as religious music or fine art transcends its origins and has universal appeal. There are many nonreligious prayers that evoke spirituality by virtue of the beauty of the words and the underlying humanity that shines through.
The blessings I have gathered here are a spiritually nourishing basket of poetic fruit--sacred prayers from all times, for all people. Amid these words you will find the soul of humanity, the song of ages. These simple prayers of thanks are a record of man-kind's unbroken relationship with God and the divine. The prayers, many of which have been uttered over aeons, have never lost their power.
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