Christians have always been accustomed to the practice of praying over food before eating. Sadly, sometimes we end up saying the prayer before a meal just out of repetition or routine—merely something we are used to doing before we eat. However, as we get into what the Bible says about praying for the food before we eat, we will see that it is something that we do not just do out of mere routine. There is a heart behind the prayer that we pray before we eat. This article will dive more deeply into the heart and the “why” behind praying before we eat and show you how to pray for the food before you eat.
Why do we pray for our food?
While the Bible does not have specific verses that tell us to pray over our food before eating, the Bible still implies that we are to do so. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, the apostle Paul teaches us that we are to rejoice always and give thanks to the LORD no matter our circumstances, for it is God’s will for us. Also, in Ephesians 5:20, Paul teaches us that we are always to give thanks to God for everything. That means we are to thank God, including for the food we are about to eat. That is the heart of why we pray for the food before we eat. We thank God for His provision, the food on our table. We thank God because everything comes from Him. We may have worked, earned wages, and used it to buy the food, but still, having the opportunity to work and earn salaries still came from the LORD. In everything we have, we can never boast because God is the creator of everything. Whatever we have, God gave it to us, including the food that we are about to eat.
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
The food on our table is God’s grace toward us. Before, when we were not yet in Christ, we were enemies of God because of our sins. We have food or provision only because of God’s common grace, which He shows to both the wicked and the righteous. Even when we become in Christ, the food and provision received from God are there all because of the grace that He shows us through Christ. In other words, we thank God in our prayer for our food before eating, not just because He gave us what we need to fill our stomachs but because God showed us grace and mercy that we never deserved in the first place.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
It teaches us that no matter what our circumstances are and no matter what our food on the table is, we should have a heart of gratitude toward God because whatever it is that we have, including the food that we are about to eat, comes from His grace. Far be it from us Christians to complain and grumble, especially if the food prepared before us is something that we don’t like. Remember that the food you don’t like is God’s grace toward you. Grace is something we never deserved but was still given to us.
How can I express my thankfulness to God?
You can express your gratitude toward God by thanking Him for the food and the grace He has shown you. The best prayer you can pray before eating is a prayer of thanksgiving toward God. It is a prayer that is rooted in humility and gratitude. Here is an example of a prayer of thanksgiving toward God for your food before you eat:
Heavenly Father, everything comes from You, for You own everything on this earth. Thank you for being so gracious toward us by providing us with the food we are about to eat. Thank You, because You are the One who sustains us; even if we are going through difficulties, we are still able to persevere. Thank You for providing me with a job by which I can earn money to use to buy the food that we have. As we are about to partake of the food, bless it, Father, and may this food nourish our bodies. Bless also the hands of those who prepared and cooked this food we are about to partake of. We also remember what was done for us on the cross by Your Son Jesus, Whose body was beaten and Whose blood was shed for our sins, which is the greatest grace we can ever receive. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
You have seen from the sample prayer given that we did not just thank God for His grace and the food He provided, but we also blessed the food itself. You can also include blessing the people who made or cooked the food. We also ended the prayer by remembering what Christ has done for us on the cross, which was to pay for our sins. That is because the food that we are about to eat is grace that we receive from God. But there is even a greater grace that we have received—His Son Jesus, who died and paid for the penalty of our sin.
When praying for the food before eating, the critical thing to remember is “gratitude.” Everything you pray is a prayer of thanksgiving toward God, Who is faithful to provide and Whose love is steadfast. Even in the direst circumstances, there is still something to be grateful to God for. Thanking God does not only have to be because you are eating your favorite food. The fact that you have anything to eat is already a big blessing to thank God for.