The Lovely Privilege of Saying Grace —
Is it important to pause before eating and give thanks to God?
My response is a definite, “Yes!”
Why? Because saying a short public prayer of thanks before meals is a simple way of acknowledging our dependence on God. It is a daily way of pausing and giving God credit for the major role he plays in sustaining our lives.
After all, Jesus and Paul both did it. (Matthew 15:36; Luke 24:35; Acts 27:35)
And my dad did it too.
One of my favorite memories is of my earthly father (a proud and fearsome John Wayne type independent guy) bowing his head before every meal and humbly saying,
“God is great. God is good.
God, we thank you for our food. Amen.”
Mind you, this didn’t happen when I was a child, but starting in my teen years my dad was changed when a friend explained to him the wonderful gift of forgiveness that God was offering to him through Jesus. It was a night and day contrast as my dad accepted God’s gift and was transformed into a humble and thankful John Wayne type independent guy. It was truly a joy to behold!
The practice of praying before meals is often referred to as returning thanks, saying grace, or offering a blessing.
Here are some of my favorites:
For these and thy many blessings, Father, we give you praise!
(I will often say this in a mixed group of believers and unbelievers when no one else has offered a blessing. I keep my eyes open, gently lift my open hands in front of me, and speak the words out loud as I would a toast. Others frequently follow it with “Amen.” It’s quite a lovely experience.)
Father of us all, this food is a sign of your love — thank you for blessing us with it. To you be all glory forever. Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.
For what we are about to receive, Lord, make us truly grateful. Amen.
And then of course:
God is great. God is good. God, we thank you for our food. By your hands we are fed. Thank you for our daily bread. Amen.
Try out one of these prayers for yourself next time before you eat. Or use your own words of thanks. Just remember that whether or not you use memorized words for saying grace, it is your genuine sincerity that means the most to God.