With Every Meal

By Royce Frederick

A friend of mine named Craig told me about an incident which occurred when he was very young. He was riding in a car on a mountain road. As he looked out the window, he was very frightened when he saw a deep canyon beside the road. He quickly prayed the only prayer he knew: “God is great; God is good. Let us thank Him for the food. Amen.”

Craig’s words did not fit the situation — but they were aimed in the right direction. Someone had taught him to talk to God, thanking Him who is the Creator and Giver of all good gifts.

Do you pray at mealtime?

Air, water, and food link us to the physical world. Our physical life depends on them. You and I do not have the power to create them. Life, and the elements which sustain life, are precious gifts from God (Acts 14:17; 17:28). We should always be thankful to Him for these wonderful blessings. We may “earn a living,” but we cannot “earn life.”

Our Lord paused at mealtime to give thanks before feeding 5,000 people (Matt. 14:19), before feeding 4,000 people (Matt. 15:36), twice during the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:26-28), and before breaking bread on the day He arose from death (Lk. 24:30). We should follow His example of thankfulness.

Paul tells us that some people did not honor God as Creator: “they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful” (Rom. 1:21). As a result, God allowed them to go away from Him into worse and worse sins. Paul foretold that, in the last days, people would be “unthankful” (2 Tim. 3:2).

We should not say prayers “for show” (Matt. 6:5), nor omit prayers for shame (see Phil. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:12; 2 Tim. 1:7-8, 12). Even when he was a prisoner on a ship in a raging storm, before he ate his bread, Paul “gave thanks to God in the presence of them all” (Acts 27:35). If we are in a situation where we should not pray aloud, we can pray a silent prayer. God is able to hear the things we say in our heart (see Neh. 2:4-5; 1 Sam. 1:8-18; 1 Chron. 28:9; Rom. 8:26-27).

When we eat our meals, let us remember that we are eating things “which God created to be received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:3).