Do you pray before meals? For many years it was customary for families to pray before every meal. But in our modern-day culture, where eating together or without distraction has become less popular, many have forgotten that practice. Saying a blessing before eating is actually a practice found in Scripture.
In 1 Timothy 4, Paul is addressing false teaching concerning dietary restrictions done for doctrinal reasons. Paul warns that “in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (v. 1). Two features of this false teaching are listed in verse 3: forbidding people to marry and abstention from certain foods. Paul does not explain the reasoning behind their prohibitions but instead points out the error. These false teachers did not allow things that “God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth” (v. 3).
Paul urges us that “everything God created is good” and introduces the common practice of giving thanks before meals (vv. 4–5). When we give thanks for our meal, we recognize God’s goodness and generosity. Some call this practice “saying grace” because we are acknowledging that God is the source of our food. It comes to us as a gift of His grace.
The term grace is related to the Latin word gratia which means thankfulness. The custom of saying grace is reflected in Deuteronomy 8:10, which urges, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.”
>> Even Jesus “blessed” the food at meals by giving thanks (Matt. 15:36). Today, before you eat, take time to acknowledge your food as a gift of God. Maybe this will begin or renew a tradition in your family!
Sometimes we’re so busy worrying about the future that we overlook what You have already provided. With each meal we eat this week, remind us that You are the source of all needs met. Thank You for giving us our daily bread!