Grace After Meals Packet

~ Shared Meditations and Prayers~

Jonathan and Rebecca’s Wedding

June 6, 2010

Shared Meditations and Prayers 

The following meditations and prayers were selected from diverse sources by the bride and groom.  We hope that these pages offer something meaningful to each person who seeks it.

Opening to Prayer

O my great and good Creator, how much I owe to you, that in your mercy you raised me from nothing to make me what I am.  What can I possibly do to bless your name or thank you enough for your inestimable goodness?

O my God, with all my heart I offer you myself, as you have made me.  I dedicate and consecrate myself to you[1].

Come, in this quiet moment of meditation; call me again, lead me in thy way for me, let the assurance of thy friendship take away my fears.  Let every shadow make me look up into thy blessed face.  Let me rise up now and follow thee[2].

With full hearts and devoted minds, we humbly speak these blessings:

Prayers for the Divine

Almighty Lord, if we offer you a devoted mind and heart, you will offer to us every blessing on earth and in heaven.

You grant our deepest wishes. You give food to the body and peace to the soul.  You look upon us with the love of a mother for her children.

You created this beautiful earth all around us.  And in very plant and animal, every tree and bird, your spirit dwells[3].

Prayers for Nourishment

Holy One of Blessing, Your Presence fills creation.  You nourish the world with goodness and sustain it with grace, loving-kindness, and mercy.  You provide food for every living thing because You are merciful.  Because of Your great goodness, the earth yields its fruit.  For you sake we pray that we shall always have enough to eat, for You sustain and strengthen all that lives and provide food for the life that You created.  Holy One of Blessing, You nourish all that lives[4].

May this food restore our strength, giving new energy to tired limbs, now thoughts to weary minds. May this drink restore our souls, giving new vision to dry spirits, new warmth to cold hearts. And once refreshed, may we give new pleasure to You, who gives us all[5].

Prayers for this Moment

May this place be a place of holiness, with guests welcomed in the bonds of family, with deeds of loving-kindness, with words of joy and praise[6]

Lord, we thank you for the food we share tonight,
in celebration of [bride’s name] and [bridegroom’s name]‘s marriage
We thank you for the love, guidance and support of our parents, family and friends
We thank you for making this day so enjoyable, and bless those that have worked hard to make this day a success for [bride’s name] and [bridegroom’s name]
Thank you Lord for the freedom we have in our lives and the beautiful country we enjoy it in.[7]

In the spirit of humility we give thanks for all that is.
We thank the great spiritual beings who have shared their wisdom.
We thank our ancestors who brought us to where we are now.
We are grateful for the opportunity to walk this planet,
to breathe the air,
to taste the food,
to experience sensations of a human body/mind,
to share in this wonder that is life.
We are grateful for the natural world that supports us,
for the community of humankind that enables us to do many wondrous things.
We are grateful that we are conscious,
that as intelligent beings we can reflect upon the many gifts we have been given.[8]

Dear Lord,
As we gather together around this table
laden with your plentiful gifts to us,
we thank You for always providing
what we really need
and for sometimes granting wishes
for things we don’t really need.
Today, let us be especially thankful
for each other–for family and friends
who enrich our lives in wonderful ways,
even when they present us with challenges.
Let us join together now
in peaceful, loving fellowship
to celebrate Your love for us
and our love for each other. Amen.[9]

 

Divine Creator,

Whose presence I feel in stillness,

Whose voice I hear in wind, in laughter,

Who breathes life into the world, and joy into our hearts,

Be with us today, in this moment, and sanctify it for Your sake.

Bless this day of celebration,

And all those who sit amongst us.

May you fill their hearts with warmth,

Clear their minds of troubles,

Renew their strength in troubled times,

And heighten their joy in others.

Divine Creator,

Whose presence I feel in all things,

Grant us peace and contentedness,

Compassion, and resolve.

Your Presence is the light

Now, and forever.

Amen.

 

 

Prayers for our Many Blessings

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.[10]

Bless our friends, bless our food.
Come, O Lord, and sit with us.
May our talk glow with peace,
Bring your love to surround us.

Friendship and peace, may it bloom
And grow, bloom and grow forever.
Bless our friends, bless our food,
Bless our dear land forever.[11]

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.[12]

We are blessed with food in a world where many walk in hunger;

For faith in a world where many walk in fear;

For friends in a world where many walk alone;

We give you thanks, O Lord. Amen.[13]

Prayers for Inner Strength

Give unto us, O Lord, we humbly beseech thee, a wise, a sober, a patient, an understanding, a devout, a religious, a courageous heart; a soul full of devotion to do thee service, strength against all temptations.[14]

To live a life of gratitude is to open our eyes to the countless ways in which we are supported by the world around us. Such a life provides less space for our suffering because our attention is more balanced. We are more often occupied with noticing what we are given, thanking those who have helped us, and repaying the world in some concrete way for what we are receiving.[15] 

Prayers for the Betrothed

Heavenly Creator, we ask this blessing for the newly married couple,

May their love be firm, and may their dream of life together be a river between two shores– by day bathed in sunlight, and by night illuminated from within.

May their twin thoughts spiral upward like leafy vines, like fiddle strings in the wind, and be as noble as the Douglas Fir.
May they never find themselves back to back without love pulling them around into each other’s arms. Amen.[16]

Prayers for Peace and Tolerance

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, let me sow pardon.

Where there is doubt, let me sow faith.

Where there is despair, let me give hope.

Where there is darkness, let me give light.

Where there is sadness, let me give joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may

Not try to be comforted, but to comfort;

Not try to be understood but to understand;

Not try to be loved, but to love.

Because it is in giving that we receive,

In forgiving that we are forgiven,

And in dying that we are born to eternal life.[17]

Prayers for Compassion

Lord, open our eyes,

That we may see you in our brothers and sisters.

Lord, open our ears,

That we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold,

The frightened, the oppressed.

Lord, open our hearts,

That we may love each other as you love us.

Renew us in your spirit.

Lord, free us and make us one.[18]

Prayers for the World

By the grace of your name

May humanity find itself lifted higher and higher.

In your dispensation, O Lord,

Let virtue reign in every human heart.[19]

May all beings be filled with joy and peace.
May all beings everywhere,
The strong and the weak,
The great and the small,
The mean and the powerful,
The short and the long,
the subtle and the gross:

May all beings everywhere,
Seen and unseen,
Dwelling far off or nearby,
Being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.

Let no one deceive another,
Let no one anywhere despise another,
Let no one out of anger or resentment
Wish suffering on anyone at all.

Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child, from harm,
So within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures.

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.[20]

Seven Wedding Blessings/ Shevah Brachot:

Blessed are You God, Ruler of the Universe, who created everything for your glory.

Blessed are You God, Spirit of all things, who has created the human being.

Blessed are You God, Ruler of the Universe, who fashioned humanity in Your likeness, and prepared for us a shape and form in your image, from one generation to the next and for all eternity. Blessed are You God, who has created human beings.

Bring joy and exultation to the Land as Her children are joyfully gathered to her. Blessed are You, Eternal, who makes the Land glad with Her children.

Grant great joy to these loving companions, as You once gladdened your creations in the Garden of Eden. Blessed are you, Eternal, who gladdens the groom and bride.

Blessed are You God, Source of the universe, who has created each of these two people, their delight and their happiness, their rejoicing and singing and dancing and festivity, love and friendship, peace and pleasure. Oh God, may the voices of this celebration be heard in the streets of our cities and the hills of our countryside. May the words of this couple go out with gladness from their wedding chuppah, and may the music of their friends and guests surround them. Blessed are You God, who brings joy to the hearts of this couple.

Blessed are You God, Source of the world, who creates the fruit of the vine.


[1] “An Introduction to the Devout Life.” The Harper Collins Book of Prayers.  HarperCollins Publishers; New York, 1993. page 151.

[2] “The House of Prayer.” The Harper Collins Book of Prayers.  HarperCollins Publishers; New York, 1993. page 383.

[3] “Atharda Veda.” The Harper Collins Book of Prayers.  HarperCollins Publishers; New York, 1993. page 377.

[4] Grace After Meals, translation from Vetaher Libeynu.

[5] Traditional Irish Blessing

[6] “Dedication of a Home” adapted by Rabbi Barbara R. Penzner

[7] Adapted from “A Wedding Toast” by James Bertolino

[8] Tom Barrett

[9] Joanna Fuchs

[10] Melody Beattie

[11] From Huron Hunger Fund, Anglican Church of Canada

[12] Marcel Proust

[13] Huron Hunger Fund, Anglican Church of Canada

[14] “For a Righteous Heart.” The Harper Collins Book of Prayers.  HarperCollins Publishers; New York, 1993. page 233.

[15] Gregg Krech

[16] “A Wedding Toast” by James Bertolino (adapted)

[17] “For Peace.” The Harper Collins Book of Prayers.  HarperCollins Publishers; New York, 1993. pp 149-150.

[18] “Lord, Open Our Eyes” by Mother Theresa

[19] Nanak

[20] James Elliott