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Author Topic: Singing Prayers before Meals  (Read 1326 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: May 23, 2012, 02:11:21 PM »

How many of you actually sing/chant the Our Father or Christ is Risen, etc. before meals? People at my parish seem to do it, but they are mostly converts and I am curious is this is the practice is "normal" Orthodox homes in an Orthodox culture. Are the prayers simply spoken? Do people merely cross themselves? I just still feel a little silly putting on a concert for my non-Orthodox wife and kids before every meal, and if this isn't even normal then it's even more silly.

Remember that for us converts in many things we are babies and have to have the most basic of things laid out for us. Otherwise we end up doing things that other Orthodox would be confused by or weirded-out by. Honestly, I'm just trying to lead my family in prayer and am trying to be faithful to our practices, but I just don't know exactly what those are in all situations.
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 03:33:44 PM »

Also, do people generally chant fro their prayerbooks or just read them in a normal voice?
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David Leon
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2012, 03:49:13 PM »

I am a convert also, so feel free to disregard anything I write here.  In our home, in ordinary times, we say the Our Father.  During Pascha, we do sing Christ is Risen.  Occasionally, we will sing the troparion of a  feast if most of us know it.  I do know that at the monastery we frequently visit, the nuns sing the troparion of the feast being celebrated, at other times they simply say the Our Father without singing.  I don't think there is a "rule" about this.
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 04:30:22 PM »

I just recite.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 05:07:07 PM »

[post made in error]
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 07:11:12 PM »

We just say them.   We do have prayer at home where we ALL sing though.
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 10:29:22 PM »

In my experience, most people do not pray out loud at meals except for, say, Christmas dinner and such. The prayers are usually not "by the book." More devout people will pray before every meal, not necessarily using the book prayers. I make a point of giving thanks whenever I eat anything, but don't do anything formal unless I'm asked to pray at a family dinner (which is a very rare experience in my life).

Bear in mind that the book prayers are monastic. If your priest gives you any sort of prayer rule, then follow that, but if he hasn't given you any instructions, then don't think that you're obligated to go strictly by the book.

As for chanting versus speaking--I've never hearn if chanting mealtime prayers, but I'm Greek, and I know that Slavic traditions often chant things that we would simply speak. So I don't know what's considered normal in your parish.

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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 10:43:02 PM »

In my experience, among Orthodox and Protestants alike, one person leading a prayer at the table is the norm, except at restaurants (though occasionally there too).

When I'm with non-Orthodox people, I pray silently unless I am asked to lead the prayer, in which case I say the Our Father (often the others will join in). It's a prayer everyone is familiar with, and is appropriate for all situations.

When I'm at an Orthodox home, I follow the family tradition. In most homes I've eaten at (both cradles and converts), everyone stands and faces the icons to say the Our Father or sing the troparion if it's a feast day. Then the head of the household (or clergy if present) blesses the food.

So in my experience, the Orthodox "normal" way is to do the whole "concert" thing, but I think among non-Orthodox people there's nothing wrong with saying the Our Father and a short blessing on the food. As Rufus suggested, these prayers were developed in Orthodox cultures and may be a bit much for non-Orthodox people; there's nothing wrong with exercising a bit of personal economia in those situations. I like the Orthodox tradition of standing to pray before the meal, though.
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 12:05:59 AM »

At meals by myself (@work, out n about, wife's not home): I make the sign of the cross, bow my head and say to myself- "Bless the food of your humble servant. Amen."

If I'm with my wife we make the sign of the cross and say the above prayer out loud (not too loud).

For the evening prayers: Always in front of the icons and always chanted out loud.

If others are comfortable singing, chanting every prayer... more power to 'em.
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 12:32:38 AM »

this thread has helped me to realize that i need to get better about praying before meals in general.

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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 09:59:58 AM »

I can't say that I've ever sang before meals; morning/evening prayers sometimes.

This definitely is Hyperdox Herman content though.
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 10:08:40 AM »

I've never heard chanting before meals - not even when the prayers are led by the priest when we eat together after DL - amongst either the Greeks or the Romanians, which are the only cradle Orthodox I have any experience with. I've only ever heard the prayers spoken and I certainly have never chanted them myself.

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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 10:24:58 AM »

I've never heard chanting before meals - not even when the prayers are led by the priest when we eat together after DL - amongst either the Greeks or the Romanians, which are the only cradle Orthodox I have any experience with. I've only ever heard the prayers spoken and I certainly have never chanted them myself.

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My experience of chanting before meals has been by those of Russian/Slavic tradition, whether layman (those who have some chanting or singing ability) or cleric. The default is the Lord's Prayer, followed by the standard prayer for blessing of food. If a feast, the troparion of the day replaces the Lord's Prayer.

Perhaps the reason why Greeks do not chant at mealtime prayers is because the Lord's Prayer is intoned, not chanted or sung, during the Divine Liturgy, whereas it is chanted or sung in Slavic practice.
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 08:46:59 PM »

Do y'all always cross your meals? I was doing that at lunch but felt kinda showy so I just went back to crossing myself.
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 09:07:19 PM »

I've read somewhere that Georgian families traditionally sing the Trisagion ("Tsmindao Ghmerto") before meals.
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2012, 09:09:09 PM »

Do y'all always cross your meals? I was doing that at lunch but felt kinda showy so I just went back to crossing myself.

If it seems too showy then do it inwardly. As one hagiography I read put it, we usually cross with our arms and hands, but the important part is praying with our heart.
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2012, 09:44:58 PM »

We don't even sing the Our Father in our parish.
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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2012, 11:31:11 PM »

Also, do people generally chant from their prayerbooks or just read them in a normal voice?

This post was actually a fake bump.  Wink
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2012, 08:55:25 AM »

Usually I say (rather not aloud) a short prayer from my prayerbook before and after the meal and make the sing of cross. Only on such great festivals as Pascha, Christmas, Theophany, our Slava etc. we chant (well, I do it) e.g. troparion of the feast or some piece of the festal canon. During pilgrimages or other Orthodox meetings in Poland we sing "Our Father" before the meal and after it a special prayer.
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2012, 09:42:06 AM »

How many of you actually sing/chant the Our Father or Christ is Risen, etc. before meals? People at my parish seem to do it, but they are mostly converts and I am curious is this is the practice is "normal" Orthodox homes in an Orthodox culture. Are the prayers simply spoken? Do people merely cross themselves? I just still feel a little silly putting on a concert for my non-Orthodox wife and kids before every meal, and if this isn't even normal then it's even more silly.

Remember that for us converts in many things we are babies and have to have the most basic of things laid out for us. Otherwise we end up doing things that other Orthodox would be confused by or weirded-out by. Honestly, I'm just trying to lead my family in prayer and am trying to be faithful to our practices, but I just don't know exactly what those are in all situations.

Christ is Risen or the feast day troparion has normally been sung in the Greek households I've been to, although many will simply read them. Singing the Our Father before meals seems a little strange. The only time it's sung is during the Divine Liturgy (in any other service it's simply read), and even then only in the Slavic tradition, so I don't see why it should be sung before meals. The Axion Estin after the meal is normally sung, however, since that is an actual hymn.

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Also, do people generally chant from their prayerbooks or just read them in a normal voice?

If by chant you mean read in monotone, I do both depending on what I feel helps me focus on that particular day. My wife normally just reads, so since I say most of my prayers with her, I tend to do the same. We always sing the troparia/kontakia of the day, though, and the 'Awed by the beauty' at the end of Compline.
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