"O God, thank you for this food. Help us to be good stewards of your bounty, for your glory and the blessing of others."
Meal Prayers for all Occasions
Many families say grace before a shared meal, usually dinner. But what about the other times that we nourish our bodies?
I decided to write several new prayers – often built around a classic line – to capture the spirit of a new time. I've also included a few old standards. Below are prayers and blessings over food for many different occasions and meals.
God, with this food, you give us strength. Thank you. Give us a vision for the hours ahead and help us to use this day to glorify you.
At Home Alone
Good Shepherd, be the guest at my table today. May this food refresh my body as you restore my soul. Lead me in the paths of gratitude, today and always.
At Home with Others
1. O God, thank you for this food. Help us to be good stewards of your bounty, for your glory and the blessing of others.
2. Bless our home. Bless this food. Feed our spirits with the bread of life, and help us to know your peace at this table, then as we work and play and sleep.
At a Picnic
God, thank you for the opportunity to gather outdoors, to celebrate the joys of your creation: the fresh air, the colorful trees, the tasty food, our sociable companions. Bless this meal and our time together. Teach us again, this day, to accept your gifts with grateful hearts.
At a Sickbed
God, thank you for this food and its nourishment. Transform it to healing strength and energy, for your glory.
At a Community Gathering
At this abundant table, we thank you, the giver of all good gifts. We also thank the farmers, the cooks, and the servers for their time and attention. Bless them and all of us gathered here, and teach us more about gratitude—for conversation and community, for taste and smell, for life and laughter.
Grace after Meals
(If the entrée is over before you’ve remembered to say grace, you can claim the ancient Jewish custom of praying after the meal – see Deuteronomy 8:10.)
God, we thank you for all the good we have received, especially the satisfaction and nutrition of this food. As it restores our energy, revive our spirits, so we can serve and glorify you today.
A Rhyming Classic
Heavenly Father, great and good,
We thank you for this daily food.
Bless us even as we pray;
Guide and keep us through this day.
Revived by Godspell (M. Claudius; trans. J. M. Campbell; public domain)
All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love.
From Psalm 92
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name.
We declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.
Evelyn Bence is author of Room at My Table: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality (Upper Room Books). Her essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Washingtonian, Books & Culture, US Catholic, among others.
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