I don’t know if there are any reliable statistics on the subject, but I would guess that there are still a good many who still pray before they eat. What about you?
Personally, I try to say a short prayer before every meal I eat, sometimes even before something like a sandwich in between regular meals. I call it “saying the blessing,” but you may call it something else, like “returning thanks,” “saying grace,” etc.
Whatever we call it, I’d bet most of us either do it regularly or at least occasionally.
But this past Sunday morning I delivered a sermon which addressed the reasons for praying before a meal, both good and bad – yes, there are bad reasons. Below is both an outline (which didn’t like being translated to WordPress for some reason) and the recording of the actual sermon (which may vary slightly from the outline).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so leave a comment. It would be MUCH appreciated 🙂
Do You Pray Before Meals? Why?
Illustration: Boy asking why dad thanks God.
I. Bad Reasons
a. Simple Habit… Matthew 6:7 – But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
b. Superstition… Acts 17:22 – Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
i. Definition of Superstition: “…a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.” (Merriam-Webster.com)
ii. Earn favor (Ephesians 2:8-9)
iii. To make it healthy/less harmful (Wrong idea of “blessing”). It’s not an incantation!
II. Good Reasons (Should go without saying that we should imitate Christ)
a. Thankful Heart… Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always for all things… 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
i. “Dark Side of Abundance”
“Those of us who live in prosperous regions of the globe and have never known food scarcity perhaps don’t feel much awe in it… God is kind not to give us heaven, yet. We would not appreciate more than a fraction of it.” – John Piper
“Complaining about the food we have is a luxury very few have experienced in world history. If we lack gratitude, repentance is the only appropriate response.” – John Piper (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-we-pray-for-our-meals)
ii. False Assumption of Righteousness… Psalm 37:25 – I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
III. Recognition of the Provider (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)
a. Who He Is
b. That He Provides
IV. To Be a Witness… Acts 27:35 – And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
Illustration: Chuck Colson praying at a diner while on a book tour.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Timothy 4:4-5 – For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
NOTE: Sometimes we should pray AFTER a meal.
Deuteronomy 8:10 – When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.