There you are, at the dinner table, your significant other has invited you to eat with the family…it’s Sunday or the last Thursday in November or whatever and for some strange reason the guest of honor (you) has been chosen to say the blessing.

I’ve feigned a different faith to get out of messing up a blessing before. But there have been times when I couldn’t get out of the deed and it was on me to deliver the word of praise with a table full of folks before food consumption. It was one of the most worrisome moments of my life. I mean, you can’t technically get prayer wrong but there are certain instances where you want to make an impression, or at least not come off like a foolish heathen.

I was on a mission to produce a 46-second sermon style grace as I began running thru old prayers in my head. I thought about comic relief and starting off with a Talladega Nights inspired “sweet baby Jesus.” I could see Will Ferrell in my mind, I almost laughed out loud but then I thought ‘I can’t steal that,’ I wanted to but I didn’t know who had seen the movie, so it wasn’t a guaranteed giggle.

Then I got the idea to apply some off-the-top-of-the-head scripture, prayer book lines and maybe infuse something with a rhythmic pattern to show my…wait a minute, this isn’t open mic night, this is a conversation with The Creator! It’s simple, just thank Him/Her for the hands that prepared the food, some mumbo jumbo about family and us being together and don’t give special thankful shout outs for individuals because then you have to include everyone. Humans like a good prayer, but they like food a little more. Brevity is key.

I still got nervy, whoever was holding my hands got theirs soaked, I totally skipped the heavenly salutation and just started asking for crap, bless the chicken, bless the stuffing, bless Aunt somebody that cooked it, thank you for waking us up, look out for the folks that traveled. This was sounding like my last few minutes of a radio interview. Long pause…eyes open…see other eyes open…okay, Amen…end scene.
No congrats, pats on the back, extra Amens or anything. It was a below average C-minus blessing at best. It wasn’t worth a hell trip or anything but God wasn’t smiling. I’ve had better ones after that but then I felt like I just studied the script (not the scripture) a little better.

You know? Switching up the pitch, changing the tone, replace “naw mean” and “you feel me?” with “Father God” and “thank you Lord.” I’ve been around the prayer block a few times now.

Although there are still some instances where we go around the table saying what we’re thankful for and I really hate saying something bland or unoriginal so sometimes I say, “pass.” I think it’s funny but no one ever laughs at that…to my face. Other times I say, “Next up, I believe that’s me, let me shout out Allah and all the other spiritual deities…” if I’m in the mood to shock folks and amuse myself. Mostly that’s just in my head though.

This whole thought process got me to thinking about the prayer that begins, “God is great, God is good…” I thought I understood it as a kid, like God is so great, but then sometimes He’s just cool. Or maybe they gave His greatness a second thought, and retracted it. No that couldn’t be it, maybe He’s all things so He can be great, good, decent, asi-asi…and so on and so forth. Or maybe this was just about rhyme scheme. Good was supposed to rhyme with food. And it might have in the Old Testament.

No one knows if the head-bow, quick instant message really works. Has food poisoning ever broken through the blessing barrier? Can it kill E coli? What about the mad cows that were hospitalizing folks or even bubble guts? I would love to see some medical cases where food was supposed to take someone out but they nailed an “amazing” grace and beat the odds.

Either way, I’m gonna keep saying ’em…not just because chicks like church thugs…or I think God’s going to intervene and block botulism…or because it’s a force of habit…oh you thought I had a logical reason. I’m rambling damnit!

Nah truthfully there is always a time to reflect and be gracious for what you have, whether it’s a big dinner with family or a happy meal…or a sad meal. Grace is great, grace is good.

You made it this far, might as well leave a comment, it means a lot.


  1. Sonic says:

    I think everyone who knows me knows not to let me say the blessing; I just really suck at it. In case someone does really want me to do it, I’ll just look over and say something like: “But [insert name here] is much more articulate than I am, and a bounty such as this deserves a fine orator such as [insert name here].”

    I totally just made that up.

  2. jtrufe says:

    Amen! I wonder if God views the vernacular I use in the prayer, or where my heart is when I’m praying

  3. DaGoldnChild says:

    So will you next address the Good Night Prayer? “Now I lay me down to sleep……” Can’t wait what your thoughts might be on that?

  4. “Next up, I believe that’s me, let me shout out Allah and all the other spiritual deities…”

    And a sure way to get out the task at my house!

  5. Yonnie says:

    1) I’ve never even seen Talladegah Nights and I can’t say the grace for a group of people w/o saying “sweet baby Jesus,”

    2) LMAO! What’s a “church thug”?

    • shastimuli25 says:

      U gotta see Talladega! church thugs are the cool guys that u wldnt expect to b in the bldg on Sundays but theyre there with mean mugs and bibles. Chicks love that

      • Yonnie says:

        LOL @ “mean mugs and bibles.” Reminds me of Katt Williams: “Are you angry at breakfast? You bangin’ on bacon?”

  6. Gabrielle says:

    Lol! Deep in the mind of Sha, hilarious…. but I’ve thought about allot of what you have mentioned in this blog… I alwayz try to be on hush mode though…. I hate when it falls on me… and Im dingy, I would love someone to open it up with “Dear, sweet baby Jesus” gets rid of that tension….

  7. Sekou says:

    sha – you got me cracking up about “god is great, god is good”. i still use that line in my current grace that i learned when i was a kid. i think the key is to have a good memorized prayer with some spots that you can customize for the occasion. that way you know it’s good and you don’t have to think about it too much. sort of like a “freestyle” where you have an open line to include the name of the radio station or dj. not that you ever do that…

  8. Rona says:

    Grace is great! At first I said grace just out of habit since my mom always told me to say ’em; but now I actually mean everything I say. I am thankful for a meal (There are ppl out there starving!), thankful for the hands that prepared the meal (I mostly cook for me and happen to love my hands!), and pray that the food nourishes my body and doesn’t kill me (Shoot, as much chemicals and preservatives that are in food these days we need to pray over everything…meals, snacks, candy bars!). I’m just saying…

  9. iamladyx says:

    Sha u’re hilarious…funny thing is we’ve ALL had crazy thoughts run thru our minds the first time or few times we were designated the table pastors. I was scared like heck that i wouldn’t say the right thing & this was around a bunch of my peers so it was even worse. You try to think of the “holiest” words to use…Hallelujah became a favorite of mine! I think we all grew up on the typical grace prayers & as DaGoldnChild brought up our bed time prayer…lol…i promise you although i STILL start my nite prayer “now i lay me down to sleep” every night…outta habbit, but you know…a w/ a bit more sophistication in the middle & end lol. I bless my food 1) ’cause that’s what i was taught 2) even more so now because I know where my the blessings of my meals come from. AND like Ro said…whether put our trust in a fast food or restaurants, or cook ourselves we still don’t know 1/2 of what we’re eating – bet hormones (w/these steroid induced flintstone size chicken legs) & chemicals we really should say 2nd grace after our meals for surviving!

  10. Anthony says:

    This is great. I’m in a space these days where I am mostly just trying to take advantage of the times that are set reminders to get my head out of my ass and recognize the stuff I have to be grateful for. And when I say grateful, I don’t mean in a “thanks for this because somebody is less fortunate than me”, which is all fine and good, but I’m talking about just taking inventory in the moment of good stuff and just basking in it for a second. Call it a moment’s reprieve from my normal grouchiness. It’s a secret gift from God to do that because I have a hard time remembering it on my own since I don’t live in a Muslim country where someone is nice enough to ring a bell and remind me to pray. (Come to think of it, I don’t think I’d mind the bell thing as a general call to pause at all….what can I say I have ADHD, I need structure.) Anyway, great post.

    BTW, you need to post something about situations where people pray corrective, often unsolicited suggestion prayers with a group. Standing in a circle holding hands….”Dear Lord, we just ask that you would help Brother Joe (standing three feet away) to pray to you instead of smoking when his wife get’s on his last nerve….” I loved this even more than I loved counting the number of times you’d hear the word “just” in a prayer at youth group….(Again, ADHD– the fact that I’m so easily distracted is/was much more my problem than anyone else in the room!)

  11. liz says:

    I try to say grace before every meal.

    It’s a way to remind myself to be thankful for the meal.

    I say the same one I was taught as a child.

    I had stopped for many years for some reason I guess you grow up and think you don’t have to say it.

    But I now understand it was just not something to say but to remind us to be thankful.


  12. Heaven says:

    Thats why you teach them young. Mariah learned to pray for her food before she was 2 years old. Now she gets mad if I forget!

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