How Do People Say Grace In Other Religions And Cultures?

Saying grace before meals is a practice as old as time and fundamental to cultures around the world. Some say it religiously before each meal, while others only pause before a big, festive holiday meal.

Saying grace essentially means to "pray for" or "give thanks for the food one is about to consume or has consumed." Grace stems from the Latin word gratia, which means "favor" or "kindness," and it’s a derivative of the word gratus, which means "pleasing."

WATCH: What Is The Origin Of The Word "Grace"?

So saying grace is about honoring the source of that kindness—whomever or whatever one believes that source to be.

How people say grace, however, differs greatly by region, religion, and personal beliefs. Scroll through to see some of the ways people around the world say grace.

Judaism

In Judaism, they often define the types of food they’re thankful for. A series of prayers starts out similarly, then each one gives specific thanks for various foods and food groups. 

For wine: Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.

For bread: Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

There are six in all, including one for all food. 

Islam

The words of thanks that Muslims give to Allah at mealtimes are considered different than traditional prayers. They are said not as a group, but by each individual as a personal acknowledgement of thanks to Allah for any bite of food or sip of liquid ingested throughout the day, and they’re said before and after meals.

The following is said if they happen to forget:

In the name of Allah, in the beginning and the end.

Paganism

Paganism is based on the worship of the earth, and most pagan mealtime prayers give homage to its elements, such as the following. 

Earth who gives to us our food,
Sun who makes it ripe and good,
Dearest earth and dearest sun,
Joy and Love for all you’ve done

Mormon

Mormons pray before meals, but they don’t have any prescribed words to do so.

Rather, they start by addressing God in the name of Jesus Christ and then improvise from there with heartfelt words of thanks.

Buddhism

Various schools of Buddhism have different chants they recite before and after mealtimes. The following is one variation from the Zen tradition. 

First, let us reflect on our own work and the effort of those who brought us this food.
Second, let us be aware of the quality of our deeds as we receive this meal.
Third, what is most essential is the practice of mindfulness, which helps us to transcend greed, anger, and delusion.
Fourth, we appreciate this food which sustains the good health of our body and mind.
Fifth, in order to continue our practice for all beings we accept this offering.

Catholic

While there are various versions, this traditional Catholic mealtime prayer is said before meals. It starts and ends with the sign of the cross

Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Hindu

Hinduism has traditional, elaborate rituals centered around mealtimes. They consider food a manifestation of Brahman, which they believe to be “the primal source and ultimate goal of all beings.” 

Before grasping this grain,
let us consider in our minds
the reasons why
we should care for and safeguard this body.
This is my prayer, oh God:
May I be forever devoted at your feet,
offering body, mind, and wealth
to the service of truth in the world.

Protestant

This traditional rhyming Protestant prayer is known as the "Wesley Grace," in honor of John Wesley, who was a founder of the Methodist movement in the Church of England.

It is believed to have been written by John Cennick, a preacher of early Methodism.

Be present at our table, Lord,
Be here and everywhere adored.
Thy people bless, and grant that we
may feast in paradise with thee.

Baha'i

The Baha’i faith was founded in Iran and teaches “ the essential worth of all religions, the unity of all peoples, and the equality of the sexes.” Though they typically do not say grace, if asked, they use a prayer such as this:

He is God! Thou seest us, O my God, gathered around this table, praising Thy bounty, with our gaze set upon Thy Kingdom. O Lord! Send down upon us Thy heavenly food and confer upon us Thy blessing. Thou art verily the Bestower, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Nondenominational

The origins of this lighthearted nondenominational prayer are unknown, but it gets right to the point and is fun to say.

It doesn’t quite rhyme unless you alter your pronunciation of the word food a bit though.

God is great!
God is good!
Let us thank Him
For our food.
Amen.

SIGN UP FOR A VOCABULARY BOOST IN YOUR EMAIL
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.