I feel that it’s unnecessary after Church activities to bless refreshments “that they will nourish and strengthen our bodies” when typically those refreshments are food items like brownies and donuts.
I’m uncomfortable praying for this (I feel like it can be a “vain repetition”), but I feel expected to do so when asked to say the closing prayer and we’re often specifically reminded “Don’t forget to bless the refreshments!” What are your thoughts on the matter? Thanks.
I will share with you the same answer I give my grandchildren when they became aware of this this particular issue.
“Do not say that if you do not mean it.”
Saying the same thing over and over again just because it is what you have always done is a “vain repetition.”
While it might help younger kids learn how to pray, ultimately a prayer is supposed to be a sincere heartfelt communication with our Father in Heaven. Too often we treat prayer as an item on a check-off list. We do it so we can check it off and say done.
When we do that, we really miss the true value of prayer and risk it being a “vain repetition”
Here is an example of such a prayer,
Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts (Mormon 3:12).
He prayed for the wicked Nephites, but knew his prayer was vain, because it was “without faith”. You cannot pray for God to save a people in their sins. You cannot pray for God to act outside His nature. You cannot pray for brownies to lose their “brownie-ness”. Well, okay, I suppose you can say the words, but without the faith it is meaningless.
When asked to bless the refreshments, I am sure you can find meaningful things to say. For example you could ask that everyone might enjoy them. (That should be an easy statement to mean sincerely). Or you could bless those who provided or otherwise prepared them. You could also simply thank the Lord that you have them. I am sure you can come up with more ways, and in so doing, make the prayer more meaningful.