Bless us, O Lord: Praying prior to Meals

Grace, the beginning block to a prayer life.

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By: Deacon Greg Kandra


“Let them say thanks to the mr for his mercy, such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam. For he solve the thirsty, to fill the hungry with good things. —Psalm 107:8-9

Got ten seconds? climate you have actually time come say one of the most familiar prayers in the world: grace before meals. Seriously. You can do this in about ten seconds—and also that humble act can serve to attach you, but briefly, through the Creator of every you are around to receive.

At every meal, take a moment to quiet pray the indigenous that most of us learned prior to we were out of our high chairs:

Bless us, O Lord,and these, your gifts,which us are about to obtain through her bounty,through Christ, ours Lord, Amen.

It’s one of the most familiar prayers us Catholics utter—right up there v the our Father and also Hail Mary. But most of united state don’t offer it more than a passing thought. (Did who say “passing”? happen the potatoes! stop eat!) but if girlfriend are looking for a means to add prayer to her busy life, do those indigenous the very first course that every meal.

Before you slice the ham, carve the turkey, scooper the soup, or sprinkle the salt, take a minute to serve up a helping of grace. The fallen the end of fashion. You hardly ever see people doing this in ~ a restaurant or in ~ dinner anymore. But try making the speak of grace part of your mealtime ritual. Trust and also believe that there is grace in this. Remarkable grace. The is the elegant that comes from stopping every little thing you room doing for you yourself in stimulate to perform something because that the Lord: give thanks to him. Together you ask him to bless what you are about to eat, consider where this food came from—who it came from—and think because that a moment around all that entered the steaming gravy, succulent meat, and buttery vegetables.

Thinking—really think—about what you space saying. Listen to those words together they escape her lips.

“Bless us, O Lord . . .” Father, confer on united state your blessing, a generous act the love that we really execute not deserve. (Except the pie, of course. Everyone deserves pie.)

“And these, thy gifts . . .” while you’re at it, could you also bless the food sitting before us? (Especially the pie . . . Yet if broccoli is involved, okay, you can bless that too.) see this food on ours table once we know others space going hungry, us realize the this is all part of a harvest you have actually graciously provided. The is important a gift.

“Which we are about to receive . . .” The gift has been given, and we are around to expropriate it into our hearts, and into our bodies. (That sound girlfriend hear, Lord, is our stomachs rumbling. Nothing be alarmed. However dinner smells for this reason good.)

“Through her bounty . . .” however we cannot forget the this enjoy the meal is here since of your ever-generous creation, your bounty. The food before us is the fruit that the earth you made, the soil you enriched, the seed you allowed to bud from ripening plants, the creatures you put on this planet to roam the fields, feed at the rivers, and also nest in the trees. It’s every yours. And it is also, in some way, ours (especially the pie).

“Through Christ, our Lord . . .” us ask every this through your lover Son, ours savior and also brother, Jesus Christ. (If he to be here, we’d be happy come share the pie with him.)

“Amen.” come all the we have actually asked, and also all the we have actually offered, we can include only one word: Amen. The punctuation at the finish of every prayer, the affirmation at the end of every hope. Yes. Us seal this through our hearts, and with our assent (and possibly with whipped cream).

Want to differ your prayer life? Other spiritual traditions have beautiful prayers before meals that share similar sentiments:

•Come, mr Jesus, it is in our Guest, and also let these presents to united state be blessed. Amen. (Lutheran)

•Be present at ours table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. This mercies bless and also grant that we may feast in fellowship v thee. Amen. (Methodist)

•O Christ our God, bless the food and also drink of her servants, for you are holy, always, now and ever, and also forever. Amen. (Byzantine Catholic)

Don’t simply Say It; Pray the

Some households like come improvise the prayer before a meal, or also make an practice out of it, questioning different kids to offer the prayer each night. The vital thing isn’t that prays, but the emotion behind it—that those current at the table background up their hearts in gratitude and charity.

Saying elegant is the many effortless prayer we deserve to offer. And we usually forget it before the very first forkful leaves the table. Yet every now and also then, it is an excellent to take it a moment, take a deep breath, and also make every word matter. (It no hurt, that course, to exercise this prayerful self-awareness and also thoughtfulness through all develops of prayer that can easily, by repetition, come to be rote and also routine.)

Our lives and also our meals room enriched when we don’t just say grace but pray it. Gratitude is chin a kind of prayer, a prayer that thanksgiving (with a little “t”). And what much better place come pray in thanksgiving than once gathered around the table?

The German mystic and philosopher Meister Eckhart once wrote, “If the only prayer you ever before said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” to speak “thank you” to God—and not just for the food.

Our gratitude doesn’t end when the prayer stops and we pass about the bread basket. Every to win of your heart affirms one unmistakable mystery: God has given you life. Extravagant, beautiful, painful, difficult life. What a wonder the is!

Let’s adopt God’s blessings wherever we discover them, however they come to us. And let’s provide thanks for them, every day, in every moment.

Pray not just for what we have, yet pray likewise for those who don’t have. Pray for those who prepared the food—everyone indigenous the farmers who grew it, to the store clerks who stocked it, to whoever prepared and also served it.

So shot grace prior to meals. No life can ever be as well busy come give, also briefly, a indigenous of many thanks to almighty God for something as straightforward and satisfying as a warm meal and a complete stomach—especially in our troubled civilization where so plenty of are going without.

Take a moment to think about what every these blessing mean. Take a minute to reflect, remember, and pray. Girlfriend just can find yourself going ago for seconds.

Our lives and also our meals space enriched when we don’t simply say grace, however pray it. Think about the native of Pope Benedict XVI:

Our prayer opens up the door to God that teaches us to come the end of ourselves constantly, to do us capable of gift close to others to bring them comfort, hope and light, particularly at moment of trial. Might the Lord approve us come be capable of increasingly an ext intense prayer, in bespeak to strengthen our personal relationship v God the Father, to open up our heart to the needs of those next to us.

What matters many when us pray is the top quality of even a couple of prayers, prayed with an awareness of oh my god presence, v both understanding and feeling, and also with the mind and the heart. If you uncover yourself struggling to make time because that prayer and also make a habit the it, here’s a an excellent way come start: grace.

Make a suggest of speak grace before every meal, where you are—at the kitchen table, at McDonald’s, in ~ a an intricate French restaurant celebrate a one-of-a-kind occasion, anywhere. Take a moment; close your eyes. At a fast-food restaurant? photo others who have actually sat in ~ that same plastic table, picking up a burger or fries. Whisper a prayer for those anonymous strangers, whoever castle are, wherever they can be. Say thanks to God for that!

Remember this: Jesus’s an initial miracle took ar with wine; later he multiply loaves and fishes, and also he capped his earthly life through the biggest meal of every the night before he died. God clearly saw beauty and also something spiritual in what world do once gathered approximately a table. So need to we.

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Dear God,You feeding me and those ns love.Thank you.Give me the grace to always thank you.And assist me come remember at this moment others who are hungry.Those who hunger because that food,but also those who hunger for other things,like love or friendship or security or dignity.May her grace help me to rememberthose I have the right to so quickly forget.Bless all that i receiveand all those whose work-related puts food ~ above the table—the farmers, the cooks, and also the servers.May every one of us treasure the bounty you lug us,including the biggest bounty that all:your grace.Your impressive grace.Amen.

This is a choice from The busy Person’s overview to Prayer through Deacon Greg Kandra, native The Word amongst Us press (2019). Easily accessible at