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.

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.

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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  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)

      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. Do you happen to know the prayer in Norwegian for returning thanks after the meal is over? I saw it once and cannot find it now. I would love to have that to teach my daughters who do know this prayer well. 🙂

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

  18. 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!

  19. 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 “

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. Maurine Gutowski

    I am the Musician and Norwegian language teacher at our Sons of Norway lodge in Muskegon, Michigan. I always lead, sometimes sing (doxology melody), the table prayer before meals at the lodge. I also play and lead the singing of the national anthem (Ja, vi elsker dette landet) at the beginning of meetings and lead the singing of many of the most popular Christmas carols (julesanger). I hand out sheets with the words and translations. Most of the members do not speak Norwegian.

    • Maybe you’d like to make a U-Tube video demonstrating proper
      pronunciation of some basic songs. Are you a native speaker?
      We would love to hear some simple songs….
      Tusen takk,
      Anna Lund Moran

      • A great idea other than nobody on the planet should have to suffer through me singing. We do, however, have an extensive YouTube playlist. You can slow down any of the videos by clicking on the Settings gear in the right corner and selecting a number less than one on the Speed menu. Best wishes!

    • So nice to finally know the meaning of a prayer my parents taught me sixty years ago when we lived in Iowa. We would say it on Christmas Eve every year just before we ate the lefsa, clube (potatoe dumplings stuffed with pork) and my favorite yulaceda (Christmas ribs). I’m going to teach it to my children this year.

  23. In Scotland we sing psalm 100 to this tune, it is called “Old 100th” and is very familiar to those in the psalm singing churches.
    “All people that on earth do dwell
    Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice
    Him serve with mirth, His praise forth tell
    Come ye before Him and rejoice.
    We also know the first two lines of “Be Present at our table Lord” which works well with this tune. Greetings from Scotland.

  24. Pastor George Reswik

    Thanks for the reading and singing of this prayer. It helps me remember the correct pronunciation of the prayer. I am the retired Pastor of a Lutheran Church in Austin,Texas and I pray this prayer most years at our annual Lutefisk dinner.
    Both of my parents were from Grimstad, Norway.

  25. My Norwegian Grandmother came to America (Ohio by way of Montana) when she was 19 around 1920. I remember her saying this prayer at family meals. Brings back many good memories of her. She always made fattigmann cookies at Christmas. Made a batch this year using her recipe. Not as good as hers but taste as I remember.

  26. Grandma taught my brother and I this prayer while baking Christmas cookies while Mom was at work. This was in the late 1960s. We surprised my parents on Christmas Eve. Neither my brother or I ever forgot it, even though we only said it once at year at Christmas. In 1998, when I visited second cousins in Norway, they started to sing it. I didn’t know the tune, but I joined in. When we opened our eyes they were all looking at me open-mouthed, with surprise. This weekend, all my first cousins are having a first time reunion. I offered to lead our dinner prayer with this memory…

  27. So nice to finally know the meaning of a prayer my parents taught me sixty years ago when we lived in Iowa. We would say it on Christmas Eve every year just before we ate the lefsa, clube (potatoe dumplings stuffed with pork) and my favorite yulaceda (Christmas ribs). I’m going to teach it to my children this year.

  28. I learned this prayer from my grandparents. Still say it to this day.

  29. I grew up with this prayer past down to me by my Norwegian grandmother and great grandmother. I knew them both. Grace was recited and then translated for guests at home and on special occasions. I grew up in Maryland. I now live in Virginia. I dream of visiting Norway. I still have cousins there…5 generations later.

  30. As a Norwegian who has lived a number of years in the US, allow me to comment: this is a great example of how Norwegian-Americans get the role of religion in the present day Norway totally wrong. Only a very small minority among us say this grace anymore. We never did it in my house. I do not know anybody that use it anymore. If anything, people may simple fold hands and be quiet for a few seconds. So much for (re)creating Norwegian values, habits and religious sentiments the way that Norwegian-American prefer to see them.

    • As with many countries the focus on religion seems to have shifted after World War II. I do appreciate your feedback, however, and acknowledge that as things change that there is value to making a note of the way things were so that — for better or worse — they are not completely lost. My family may be an exception in these times, but it means a lot to us.

  31. We sang this at our Sunday dinner to the tune of “Beautiful Savior”. It was very special.

  32. This tune was used by our (Norwegian) Lutheran church when I was a child. The English words were, “Be present at our table Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may feast in paradise with thee.” A second cousin of mine posted her family singing it (in four part harmony, no less) at a family holiday dinner.

  33. Tak. Long time family grace which I’m now in charge of passing on to the younger generation.

  34. Lovely in any language!
    “Praise God from whom all Blessings flow! Praise hHim all creatures here below, Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, son and Holy Ghost. Amen”

    I have been reading through a series of wonderful books by Lauraine Snelling. The Bjorklund family starts this prayer before each meal. I wanted to hear this spoken and sung! Beautiful! I have no Nordic background but wish I did! Thank you! Doxology

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