Praying at Mealtime

On multiple occasions we read in the Scripture of Christ praying before eating. “Looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples” (Matthew 14:19). In different passages, the gospel writers sometimes used the word “blessing” and others “gave thanks.” It is interesting to note that Christ was most probably following the Jewish custom not of blessing the bread itself but giving thanks to God. Jews were forbidden to eat or drink without first acknowledging God by giving thanks.

The Jewish blessing reads thus: “Blessed are you O Lord, our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth!”

The custom and pattern then was not to “bless” the food but to give thanks or blessings to God who provided the food. Paul “took bread, and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat” (Acts 27:35).

It is a custom worthy of following to give God thanks for His provision at every meal in all settings, public or private.