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Food  |  Spirit

Saying Grace Around the World

That pause before the meal inspires us across cultures. Artist Nikki McClure adds her touch to our collection of mealtime prayers from around the world.

Nikki McClure of Olympia, Washington is known for her painstakingly intricate and beautiful papercuts. Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates a bold language that translates the complex poetry of motherhood, nature, and activism into a simple and endearing picture.


VISIT HER WEBSITE: www.nikkimcclure.com




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Nikki McClure illustration

Illustration by Nikki McClure.

LATIN AMERICAN

To those who have hunger
Give bread.
And to those who have bread
Give the hunger for justice.

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BUDDHIST

This food is the gift
of the whole universe.
Each morsel is a sacrifice of life,
May I be worthy to receive it.
May the energy in this food
Give me the strength
To transform my unwholesome qualities
Into wholesome ones.
I am grateful for this food.
May I realize the Path of Awakening,
For the sake of all beings.

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MUSLIM

All praises are due to Allah who gave us sufficient food to eat and who satiated our thirst while such food is needed by us all the time and while we are not ungrateful to Allah.

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ASHANTI, GHANA

Earth, when I am about to die
I lean upon you.
Earth, while I am alive
I depend upon you.

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SELKIRK GRACE, SCOTTISH

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it.
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

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CHRISTIAN CHILDREN'S PRAYER

Thank you God for the world so sweet,
Thank you God for the food we eat.
Thank you God for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

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APOSTOLIC, ARMENIA

The eyes of all wait upon Thee, O Lord,
And Thou givest them their food in due season.
Thou openest Thy hand and fillest all things
Living with plenteousness.

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HINDU, INDIA

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.

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COPTIC, EGYPT

Bless, O Lord, the plants, the vegetation,
and the herbs of the field,
that they may grow
and increase to fullness
and bear much fruit.
And may the fruit of the land
remind us of the spiritual fruit
we should bear.

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MOTHER TERESA, CATHOLIC, CALCUTTA

Make us worthy, Lord,
To serve those people
Throughout the world who live and die
In poverty and hunger.
Give them, through our hands
This day their daily bread,
And by our understanding love,
Give peace and joy.

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SIOUX, NATIVE AMERICAN

I’m an Indian.
I think about the common things like this pot.
The bubbling water comes from the rain cloud.
It represents the sky.
The fire comes from the sun,
Which warms us all, men, animals, trees.
The meat stands for the four-legged creatures,
Our animal brothers,
Who gave themselves so that we should live.
The steam is living breath.
It was water, now it goes up to the sky,
Becomes a cloud again.
These things are sacred.
Looking at that pot full of good soup,
I am thinking how, in this simple manner,
The Great Spirit takes care of me.

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JEWISH

Praised are You, our God, Ruler of the universe, who in goodness, with grace, kindness, and mercy, feeds the entire world. He provides bread for all creatures, for His kindness is never-ending. And because of His magnificent greatness we have never wanted for food, nor will we ever want for food, to the end of time.

For His great name, because He is God who feeds and provides for all, and who does good to all by preparing food for all of His creatures whom He created: Praised are You, God, who feeds all.

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Sources:

VARIOUS ::
Compilation of graces by Azuka Nwigwe, Grail World Magazine
www.grailworld.com/GraceIndex.htm

ASHANTI, COPTIC, MOTHER TERESA ::

From the book "Bless This Food." Copyright © 1993, 2007 by Adrian Butash. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com

HINDU ::

Translated by Linda Hess at Stanford University


Illustration by Nikki McClure. Research by Anna Stern. This article is part of Food for Everyone, the Spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Anna Stern is an editorial intern for YES! Magazine.

Photo of Anna Stern
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