Praying at Meal Time

Read: Romans 14:1-12

Several Sunday’s ago I preached a message on this text from Romans 14 about disputable matters and having conversations in grace with those who may not agree with us on some things. Just this week however I was reading it again and noticed how verse 6 refers to us giving thanks to God for our daily food.

We know in the Lord’s prayer Jesus says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” But when he actually does, do we take the time to give thanks to him? So often today our culture has us in such a hurried state that families seldom sit down and eat meals together anymore. This is a sad development that someday we will look back on and regret.

Not only are we missing out on valuable family time and the opportunity to catch up on each others day, but most likely when people eat on their own or on the run they are likely skipping the time of thanks to God before they consume their meal. Meal time prayers are also a great opportunity to lift up that person that you said you would pray for earlier in the day.

It reminds me of the story of the young seven year old boy who one night at supper asked his dad why he thanked God before eating food that came from the grocery store. The father picked up a roll and asked, “Where did this come from?”

“From the store,” the boy said.
“Where did they get it?”
“I dunno. From the bakery?”
“Where did they get it?”
“They made it.”
“From what?” asked the father.
“From flour.”
“Where did that come from?”
“From wheat.”
“Where did the wheat come from?”
“The farmers.”
“And where did the farmer get it?”
“He grew it,” said the boy.
“From what?”
“And who made the seed?”
“God, I guess,” said the little boy.
“And that,” said the father, “is why we thank Him.”

There are many things to thank the Lord for! But if we don’t start with the meal time I’m concerned about what all else we may be leaving out. Just like God provided manna in the desert for the Israelites, he provides the daily bread for us. Let’s give him thanks before we eat!

Make it personal: Perhaps your meal times have become rushed and separated from the rest of your family. Try to plan meal times together when possible and make the opening prayer a time of thanksgiving and lifting others before the Lord. Someday we will be glad we did!

Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church