It has become a common practice for Christians to pray before we eat. Many times, we pray the same prayer asking for the Lord to bless the food. This isn’t bad at all, but I thought I’d give us some biblical prayers that we can pray before eating to add diversity into our routine.
We should pray our thankfulness to God for his provision in our lives, that God would bless the food and those eating, that he would allow us to enjoy the food, that he would keep us from gluttony, and that even our eating would be glorifying to Him.
Some of those will seem very familiar and others might not. Read on and I’ll explain why all of them have biblical precedent.
Thankfulness For God’s Provision
God desires that we praise Him continuously and have a heart of thanksgiving. When we pray before we eat, it is keeping the focus on God. We realize that God provided this food, and we should thank Him for it.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:18
Giving thanks in all circumstances includes thanking God for the food we eat every day. Every day is a gift from God.
Every time we get to eat is also a gift from God.
We can start by praying out loud with other people around us who are also eating or just silently by ourselves. First, we can acknowledge God, and pray: “Dear God or Heavenly Father,” focusing on the Lord who is overall, and the giver of life and all good things.
By acknowledging God, we are respecting who He is.
We can continue to thank the Lord for who He is and for what He has provided.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.James 1:17
We can say, “Thank you Jesus for the food you have given.” This is not something that has to be elaborate or sound fancy in any way, it is a simple act of thanksgiving stating that you are thankful for the food we are about to receive.
Then, we can go on and ask the Lord to bless our food to our bodies.
The Lord’s Blessing
Jesus is our example, and before giving bread to His disciples, He blessed it and gave thanks. We can also ask God to bless our food before putting it into our bodies.
Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them.Matthew 26:26-27
Another time when Jesus blessed the food before giving it away, was after He had risen from the grave and was on the road to Emmaus (which was about 7 miles from Jerusalem). As some of Jesus’ disciples were talking about all the crazy things that had just been happening, Jesus (who was risen from the grave) appeared to them and joined them. They didn’t recognize him at first because the Bible says their eyes were closed. It wasn’t until Jesus did something that opened their eyes to see who he truly was.
The group was talking amongst themselves with Cleopas, about how Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by the Romans; they were sad because they were hopeful before that he was to redeem Israel. They mentioned how some women claimed they saw a vision with angels also saying that the tomb was empty and Jesus had risen from the grave. But they were unsure about this.
Jesus interrupted them with scriptures concerning himself, and said, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” The small group of people still did not know that Jesus was with them in the flesh right then.
Finally, they kept going and got to the village they wanted to go to. It wasn’t until Jesus blessed the bread and broke it that their eyes were opened.
When he was at the table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.Luke 24:30-31
After Jesus blessed and broke the bread, their eyes were opened. That was the plot of the story; Jesus blessing and breaking the bread and their eyes being opened to who Jesus was.
Whenever Jesus would break bread during His time on earth, He would bless it first or pray to God the Father to bless it for Him giving thanks.
In this particular story, these people’s eyes were opened after the blessing and bread was broken.
We too should be asking blessings over ourselves and others. When we eat, I think it is a good idea to ask the Lord to bless our food and bless our bodies. We should honor God in that way, as well as being good stewards of our bodies by filling it with nutritious food.
We can pray that God would bless it to our bodies to help fuel us and give us all the nutrients we need.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.1 Timothy 4:4-5
We can be blessed by God, our food can be blessed by God, and we should receive the gift of food with a thankful heart. Through prayer, God can bless our food to our bodies.
That We Would Enjoy the Food
God wants us to be joyful and enjoy the food He has given. We can have fun getting creative while making meals for ourselves and others and enjoy good company and the taste of good food.
And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.Ecclesiastes 8:15
Food can bring people together and we can glorify God through this.
Many cultures base meals around community. It brings people together and can be a social event. God wants us to love others and be hospitable inviting others into our own households.
We should show hospitality without complaining, and be open to hosting people we may not even know that well.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.Hebrews 13:2
This sounds crazy, but the Bible says sometimes angels may show themselves to us possibly even in human form. This may be a test to us, to see if we truly care for people and are willing to be hospitable towards those we may not know.
We should enjoy this time of fellowship breaking bread with one another and focusing on the One who is the giver of all good things including food.
Because food is such a cultural thing and even praised so much, it can be easy to keep eating even out of politeness when we are not even hungry.
That We Would Be Kept from Gluttony
The Bible talks about gluttony in a negative way. We should not be consumed with food or eat in excess. The definition of gluttony is habitual greed or overindulging in food.
We are to eat to live, not live to eat.
Even if this sounds funny, it can actually be a big problem in many people’s lives. Food is designed to keep our bodies going and give us energy. We can enjoy food; and sitting around a table with friends and family brings people together. However, like all things, we should be doing this in a God-honoring way.
We are God’s temple and taking care of our bodies by not eating in excess, is another way how we can glorify God. Our inclination toward sin is to push our limits and over-eating may seem harmless, but God says it is sin.
But God can keep us from sin, and we can enjoy good food in a God-honoring way.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joyJude 1:24
It’s all about being aware and honoring God in everything we do.
For non-Christians, this may not seem like that big of a deal. But for believers of Jesus, our desire should be to honor God in our mind, spirit, emotions, and body.
That We Would Glorify Him
Praying to God before we eat asking blessings on the food and thanking Him for that food, is a simple way for us to get our focus straight. When we ask God to bless our food, but indulge in junk food on a daily basis and are constantly over-eating, that is like disregarding what God has to say about our bodies being a temple of God.
All that we do, should be God-honoring.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31
Start today. Remember to say a simple prayer of gratitude before you eat. Ask God to bless your food and your body. Seek to glorify God in your body and enjoy the good food that God has provided for us.