Saying Grace – the ‘Blessing’

Have you ever wondered why we sit down at meal time and bless our food?

I recently read an article that denounced meal time “blessing” with a good point that we’re often more focused on what we’re about to consume than the God who provided it for us. The article was worth reading and can be found here:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/why-food-matters-faith

Yet, I don’t think it’s wrong to pray before we eat. First, Jesus gave thanks before He broke bread with His disciples (Matthew 26:26). Likewise, we should thank God for providing for us the food we need to sustain our bodies. Food isn’t the ‘enemy’ in our desire to be healthy and thin. Our over-indulgence and self-gratification is really the culprit rather than the gift of God of something He gives us for our enjoyment and energy. Meal times can be a wonderful time of bonding with family, a reminder to come together and love on and talk to one another. Giving thanks to God for this incredible blessing is an important part of this ‘ritual.’

But, truly, the author wasn’t asserting that we shouldn’t be thankful. He was saying that there was no “magic” in blessing our food. And here is where I think the author is wrong (or maybe misguided is a better word). We ask God, the giver of all good gifts, to bless our food because of His promise in Exodus 23:24-26: “Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” I think it’s wise to ask God to bless our food and water and make us healthy. He alone has the power to take sickness away from us.

The verses start, though, by reminding us to WORSHIP the Lord Your God (and no other idols). We can’t worship the food and expect God to bless it.

I agree wholeheartedly with the author’s assertion that we were created with a hole in our heart that can only be filled with God. Instead we try to fill it with any pleasurable alternatives we find, including eating food we don’t need, for sheer enjoyment. Yet, if we think about our actions long term, we certainly don’t enjoy the effects – the tight clothes, the muffin tops, the obesity and eventually for some the fall into diabetes or even death. Maybe if we take the time to pray before meals, we can search our hearts and ask God if we truly need the food we’re about to partake. We can give thanks that we live with plenty. We can also ask for Him to be our all in all – our center of worship and adoration as the One and ONLY true God – and that He will fulfill His promise to bless our food and water and take sickness away from us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your truth in Your Word. Lord, we want to take the opportunity to pray to You at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17), with thanksgiving in our hearts. Thank You For blessing us with an abundance. We have so much wealth in our country that we struggle with eating too much. Please forgive our sin and help us fill the hole in our heart with more of You rather than the food we don’t need. We desire to worship You only, and we ask that You bless our food and water and make us healthy (and thin!) and give us a full life span. May we live to glorify and honor You in all we say, do and consume. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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