Prayer before Meals: The Mystery in Plain Sight

Prayers offered before meals are often overlooked but they are crucial in our faith. As a believer, you need to understand the purpose of the prayers we make before eating.

When someone makes a short prayer and starts eating immediately, I usually joke saying God is yet to hear your prayer. Despite presenting it as a joke, it grieves me when prayers made before meals are taken casually.

In this article, I will share with you a revelation I received concerning the prayers we make before eating and why I take those prayers seriously.

The Origin of Praying before meals

There is an infamous joke though it carries some weight that Adam and Eve never prayed for the fruit they ate in the Garden of Eden and that is why they were kicked out.

Yes, it is a joke but when you think about it critically, you will realize that it is true. Had Eve prayed before eating the forbidden fruit, I’m sure God would have warned her not to eat it.

With this being the first incident of eating that we encounter in the Bible, it marks the origin of praying before meals.

Because of a meal, we fell from glory. We exchanged the glory of God for a mere bite of a fruit. The desire of our stomachs led us to rebel against God’s command.

When you understand the seriousness of the crime that our appetite led us to, you will understand why praying before meals is not just a prayer for kids.

The Purpose of Praying for Food before We Eat

1. To remind us that God is Greater than Food

You may laugh when you learn that we pray for food to remind ourselves that God is greater than the food we eat but it is a serious matter. We have the tendency of forgetting God when our stomachs are full.

This is what the Bible says in Deuteronomy 8:10-11: When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day.

God gave the children of Israel the land of Canaan which had plenty of food and warned them not to forget Him when they have eaten and are satisfied. But they forgot Him as soon as they ate the good of the land.

In the wilderness, when the Israelites were hungry, they cried out to God but when they were full, they forgot about Him.

The Psalmists tells us in Psalms 78:30-31 that God got angry with them while food was still in their mouths and put to death some of them. It is annoying when the person you feed forgets about you immediately they are full worse if they are still eating.

The mistake the Israelites made was regard food above God who had provided it for them. Their mistake stirred the anger of God and they paid for it.

2. To remind us that we do not live by bread alone

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 8:3.

God provided manna for the Israelites so that they understand that their survival is not on food alone but also by the word of God that provided that food in the first place.

In today’s society, there are many people who assume that if they have money to buy food they do not need God. Such people don’t even see the need to thank God for the food they eat.

It was for such people that God spoke the words in Deuteronomy 8:3.

Praying before meals reminds us that life is not based on the food we eat alone but also on the word of God which is life.

Later on, Jesus revisited this topic in John 6:49 by stating that the fore fathers of the Israelites ate manna in the wilderness yet they still died. He then told them that He was the bread of life which if they ate, they would never die.

His words emphasized the importance of ‘not living by bread alone but by the word of God’ given that He was the living word.

3. To prevent us from being too pre-occupied with food

“Do not destroy the kingdom of God for the sake of food” Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 14:20. You will be surprised at the number of people who miss the kingdom of God for the sake of food.

Some miss it because they are busy debating about which foods are clean and which ones are unclean. Others miss it because they are too busy working to get the next meal.

Jesus spoke about these things saying “Do not worry about what you shall eat or drink”. He assured us that our Father in heaven knows that we need food.

The fact that Jesus had to clarify that we should not worry about food tells you how pre-occupied we are with food.

Praying before meals should be a reminder to us that food is a substance that nourishes our physical body but prayer is the substance that nourishes our spiritual body.

When you pray before you eat, you acknowledge that it is more important to feed your spirit than your physical body and God is pleased.

The Structure of the Prayer you should make before Meals

Now that you understand the origin and purpose of praying before meals, you need to formulate a prayer that makes sense.

I won’t need to tell you word by word what you are to say provided you capture the important aspects.

In your prayer, start by acknowledging that God is the source of life and provider of all good things. Then thank God for providing the meal you are about to eat and conclude by asking God to help you remember Him even after you are full.

The common prayer of “Oh God bless this food before we eat” is rubbish; it makes no sense. God blesses us by giving us food. It is not eating ‘blessed’ food that makes us blessed. Change that line of thinking if you are a victim.

Until next time…Peace!

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