Looking at my daughter at the dinner table as we take our first few bites. I hadn’t prayed before the meal and didn’t bother to. Confession, I wasn’t “in the mood” to bless the dinner, just in the mood for stuffing my face. Until I thought, “why do we bless dinner?” Prompting by the Holy Spirit, convicting me of my lack of care to pray, I figured I better find the answer as to why we pray before meals.
Before diving into scripture to find the answer, I think on top of my head why I bless the food. Aside from being raised that way, I guess its an act of honour and thankfulness towards the Lord. To have food in front of us is something perhaps we take for granted. By giving thanks to the Lord its taking the time to acknowledge Him in our day. Simply put, mealtime prayers can be check points for our faith. No matter where we are, we eventually have to eat and when we do, did we give God thanks?
Did Jesus bless the food?
In Matthew 14 we see Jesus looking up to heaven saying a blessing before he broke and served bread. At this point in time it was a miracle that so much food was provided. Jesus turned a handful of food into portions that served thousands of people. Not even one person was left hungry. Giving thanks to God means recognizing His provision in our lives. Praying before meals is a fitting practice for all who trust the Father for the daily provision of their needs (Matthew 6:11).
I can’t remember a time where a meal did not satisfy my hunger for the day. What an amazing miracle that is to have. I have taken this miracle for granted by avoiding to give God thanks.
Remember the LORD your God.
Matthew 14:19, “Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.”
Deuteronomy 8:10, “And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.”
Romans 14:6, “The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Take every opportunity to give God thanks because its training you up for Godliness.
The point in finding out why I am praying before meals is so I can have a pure motive and reason behind it. Instead of just saying words because, “I’m supposed to”. One day my daughter will muster enough words together to string questions about why we do what we do. As a mother who loves the Lord I must know why I do what I do, especially when it comes to my faith.
We mustn’t stop doing the little things well or assuming the little things are “little” like praying before meals. Or else, perhaps, over time we’ll start to neglect the power and necessity it is to pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
We are to, in everything, give thanks. So why not start with our food? We know we have at least three meals a day and what a great opportunity to stop and acknowledge God before we eat. I have failed in this area making it seem like its not a big deal – but it is.
Make gratitude a big deal in your life.
Instead of rushing through the prayer to get to the meal, acknowledge its gift first and give thanks to the giver. I admit, I rush many of my dinner meal prayers, and don’t even bother with breakfast or lunch! I’ve made something biblical and honorable to God become so monotonous.
I repent of my lack of care and annoyance it has been to pray before each meal. I have taken for granted a gift from God which is food on my plate. That is something alone many people can’t say they have. I have become ignorant to a gift that is given. So I thank God for His blessing upon me and its goodness it carries to nourish my body. What a miracle God has given us with available food to eat!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to walk in your light and not in my own right. So I can live in wisdom and in truth – not easily swayed by my emotions or ignorance towards sin. I repent of not seeking opportunities to thank you for what you have given me, which is food to eat. Amen.