Where did the notion that you should pray before every meal come from? All I can think of is the idea came from the Last Supper when Jesus prayed before they ate. I used to hate praying outloud. It seemed not only too personal but also forced and repetitive. There was always that moment when everyone was waiting to see if others were going to pray or just start eating. I used to hate meals when I'd be asked to pray. When asked, I finally just started saying " no thanks " or " why don't we just say our own prayers ?". This was just something that just wasn't done, so as you can imagine there was always an awkward silence afterward.
You could never go on a picnic or a camping trip with JW's without someone having to do a public prayer or where a watchtower study would spontaneously break out. We were on vacation in Florida a few months ago and we hooked up with a relative and his wife who are Bethelites. They'd say their prayers in restaurants, while having a snack on the beach...you name it. It all seemed so pious and ritualistic.