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It was at one time (maybe still is) a common practice to read the Bible and pray after eating dinner together as a family. I'm trying to think about how to introduce people to this practice if they have not done it before, but I want to learn more about the tradition first.

If you did this (or do this) I'm wondering if you could help me out by answering a few questions.

  1. How did you choose what Bible passage to read? Did you use a reading plan or just stick a bookmark in and go through chapter by chapter?
  2. Did you have a written prayer you used as part of this time, or was it always something improvised?
  3. Did you use any other devotionals during this time (like "Today" or "Our Daily Bread")?

Please leave your answers as comments below in the comment section. Thanks!


Thank you for your post, Benjamin.

Growing up, my family's after-dinner devotions were almost always from the 'Today' (thank you ReFrame!). And now that MY kids are getting older (8 & 11 yrs/old) I am reviving that tradition. When the kids were younger, we would read from a children's story Bible or use 'God's Big Story Cards'  

When I was a kid my dad read from a children's storybook Bible. We cycled through a few. I asked my mom if I could have one we used and I used that, too, for quite a while with my kids, although we got out of the habit later, and especially when it got down to us with our youngest. Then we had the wonderful experience of having our sons and their kids (thus our grandkids) live with us for short periods of time. We used the "God's Big Story Cards" during that time and the kids really liked picking the next card. I gave each family their own set when they went on to live in their own houses.

When our children were young we did various after dinner things with them. Sometimes we were making our way through a children’s Bible, interspersed by evenings singing all our favourite hymns from the psalter hymnal. We weren’t a musical bunch so it was quite messy. Our kids ages ranged across 12 years so discussions and levels of understanding varied. We found that reading through books such as Helen Taylor’s Little Pilgrims Progress was beneficial whatever their age, and the older children enjoyed revisiting this book. New insights and more mature questions ensued, all within earshot of their little sisters. We also learned Bible verses, Psalm 100 was a perennial one, and all those lists - fruit of the spirit, Jacob’s sons, Ten Commandments, OT kings and rulers, etc. 

Finally someone prayed ‘the long prayer’ which included requests for the salvation of aunties and uncles, care of the sick and the hungry both locally and worldwide, reminders of the birthday gifts they’d like to get, and thanks for sunny days. You get the idea. (The before meal grace was strictly limited to a blessing on the food, otherwise dinner would be cold. “Save it for later, kid.”)

Growing up, we always used the Today devotional after breakfast before going to work/ school.  At dinner, we took turns reading a portion of Scripture and praying.  We would agree upon a book of the Bible to go through.  We used different translations over the years.  Now with my own family, breakfast is very quick and not always together so we don't have a set pattern for devotions.  Sometimes I read the verse of the day from YouVersion Bible app with my children.  But I try to have my personal devotions in the morning.  After dinner, we read the Today devotional together or we read through a portion of Scripture together and pray our own prayers.  It's important to us to have this time of drawing to God through His Word and prayer.  It's also important that it is a good routine so that even when our children have friends over, we continue to do the same and it's not neglected nor something out of the ordinary.  

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