Norwegian Table Prayer

Takk for Maten | Thank You For the Food

The Norwegian table prayer has a long history in the Norwegian home. When the family gathers around the table, it is said before each meal. It can be spoken or sung.

It also has a heartfelt place in Norwegian gatherings around the world. At Norwegian clubs, dinners, and special events you will find it said with reverence of history and heritage.

Norwegian Grace Lyrics

I Jesu navn går vi til bords
Og spiser, drikker på ditt ord
Deg, Gud, til ære, oss til gavn
Så får vi mat i Jesu navn.
Amen.

Words to Norwegian Grace in English

You may see a few different English translations for the Norwegian table prayer. Translators vary between being strictly literal or trying to put their own poetic spin on the phrasing. They all mean the same thing.

In Jesus’ name to the table we go
To eat and drink according to his word.
To God the honor, us the gain,
So we have food in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

How to Sing the Norwegian Table Prayer

If you just want to say grace before you eat you don’t have to sing, but many people do. Either way you will need to understand how the words actually sound, since the text is (literally) foreign to our ears.

Learning the Norwegian table prayer can be difficult — but only in that many videos rush through it out of habit, have equipment challenges, or are otherwise hard to hear.

You will find this to be easy!

I hope that the Norwegian table prayer will grace your table in the days and years to come. When you’ve perfected this one, here is another to try: Be Present At Our Table, Lord.

Please comment on your memories of the Norwegian dinner prayer around the table with your family, friends, or club!

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41 Comments

  1. I used to say this at every middag (dinner). Did not mean anything to me but we always recited it.

    • Thanks for your comment, Åse. I think a lot of people say it from habit or tradition, rather than religious fervor. 🙂 If it connects you to a sense of peace, family, gratitude, history, or whatever, I think it still has value.

      • We would say it as a family at supper. Dads mom maiden name was Noer.

      • I’m not from Norway but I’m just trying to learn more of the language because my grandad tought me some before he passed away.And when I found this and saw the prayer that my grandad showed me one morning put a very big smile on my face! Thank you 🙂

    • Norma Czarnik ( nee Wold)

      ASE
      My mom’s name was ASE in Norway but when they came to school in Chicago you know what they called her. So her name was changed to Audrey to save her some embarrassment. I still think it is a beautiful name.

    • We said it every night at supper!! My children
      Also learned it from my father & mother!

  2. Years ago, I bought a book titled “Norwegian Humor and myths” for my Norwegian mother. I shared with her the chapter of the White Dinner (white fish, white potatoes, cauliflower, cottage cheese). She said “what wrong with that, very nourishing”in a sharp voice. I said “A little color would be nice”.

  3. I remember my grandparents and family singing this when I was young!!such fond memories!

  4. Thank you! I can still hear my father saying this prayer at holiday meals. He has not been with us for fifteen years.

  5. Ellen Nelson Isaac

    My sister and I said this every evening at supper. I taught it to my children. Unfortunately they have forgotten it. We sang the same melody an English version at our Norwegian Lutheren church.

  6. The crucial role played by the humble codfish, in the form known as lutefisk (lye fish),in the survival of the Norse people, makes a very interesting story.
    The means employed to preserve the fish, absent mechanical refrigeration, for a time span of months, then “restore” it to a more-or-less edible state, albeit “gustatorily” (that may or may not appear in your dictionary) somewhat less than delightful, makes an interesting tale.

  7. Patricia Callaghan

    My Norwegian grandfather always prayed this. Since none of his grandkids understood the words we just waited for the “amen” before we unfolded our hands and concentrated on the food. But we understood his devotion to his religious faith, and we shared in it.

  8. The Norwegian prayer is still said by our family at every gathering! Followed by good food including homemadelefse! So proud of our Norwegian heritage.

  9. Susan Swanson Leyava

    My father taught us this prayer when I was a child in the early 1950s. Hearing it brought tears and a smile. Thank you. Susan

  10. My great-grandparents and grandmother immigrated to Moorhead, Minnesota in 1878. He was one of the founders of Moorhead College. I can hear my father mumbling this under his breath. It must have been a childhood comfort. We children said/sang the English words of “Be present at our table Lord”. Thank you, for the memory.

  11. lu ann (Paulson)Lipp

    we always say this at family gatherings. or I should say one of the family does. certain of the family have been taught it. hope it gets passed on to some member of the family for generations to come.
    we have lefse for holiday meals and this year I am making krumkake for Christmas

  12. Thank you for singing and telling of the Norge table prayer. I’ve never heard it sung before, so this was a treat. My side of our family has always prayed this prayer for all holiday gatherings; verbally. When you aren’t real sure of how to pronounce it, there’s no better way to learn.(my opinion)

  13. Pingback: Norwegian Song Be Present At Our Table Lord | Norway At Home

  14. We used this prayer for all our festive events, even at my father’s funeral 2 weeks ago.

  15. All the cousins in my family learned this at Sons of Norway summer camp. Our grandparents were so proud. And now the next generation is going to camp and learning it, too.
    Thank you for sharing the video lesson. It’s beautiful when spoken, even more so when sung.

  16. My granddaughter learned this at Vacation Bible School this past summer. We are now all going to give it a try at Thanksgiving.

  17. Carol Maren Bjerke

    This prayer was part of the foundation of our family. It brings me so much peace and fond memories. I count have read it at a better time. Thank you!

  18. We sang this same melody in our Lutheran Church in the 50’s and 60’s with these words “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly hosts . Praise Father,Son and Holy Ghost . Amen “

  19. Thank-you so much for this! Though we’ve said the prayer in our family we never thought to sing it. The singing was always reserved for “Be Present At Our Table, Lord” or the doxology. Walking us slowly through the pronunciation helped so much, for with the loss of the aunties and uncles we are also losing the memories of pronunciation. Bless you!

  20. We have a potato klub supper every year in March. We don’t start filling our plates until my 93 year old father 2017 says the table prayer in Norwegian. He grew up in Minnesota with his first language being Norwegian at home and he still speaks it well. We enjoy the prayer and he has said it the wedding of five of his grandchildren

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