Q: I have a good friend who is very religious and practices a prayer before every meal. Every time we eat together she always asks who would like to say the prayer. No one usually volunteers because they are not as religious as she is. Even though I share similar values and am not offended, I do not practice a prayer before every meal. Other guests have said that being requested to pray made them feel uncomfortable because of different religions and non-religious beliefs. Is it polite to pray before a meal with guests of other faiths? What should I suggest to my friend so that she doesn’t put my guests on the spot?
A: It is of course fine to say grace before a meal, but the host should be the one to say the grace, not put her guests on the spot by asking them to pray. Prayer can be very personal for many people and being asked to offer a grace, unprepared, is more than awkward and inhibiting for many people. Tell your friend to simply offer a prayer herself, not to continue the practice of inviting others to do so.