rebelling against low expectations

Why Do Christians Pray Before Meals?


“Lord God and giver of all good gifts, we are grateful as we pause before this meal,
for all the blessings of life that You give to us. Daily, we are fed with good things,
nourished by friendship and care, feasted with forgiveness and understanding.
And so, mindful of Your continuous care, we pause to be grateful
for the blessings of this table. May Your presence be the extra taste to this meal
which we eat in the name of Your Son, Jesus.”

– Edward Hays

Have you ever caught yourself beginning your meal without the customary giving of thanks? (In my family, we call it saying grace.)

I suppose every Christian (me included) has been in that awkward situation at some point—already smacking down your supper when someone at the table announces, “Let’s pray.” Your fork clinks as it falls on your plate and you hastily clasp your hands together as you pretend you’re not secretly chewing.

Even though I have known for most of my life that it is ‘right’ to say grace, or give thanks, before a meal, I’ve never really understood why it is so important, and I have been prone to forget to do it. At family dinners, I am often the one asked to say grace before we eat, and the words on the tip of my tongue escape awkwardly and mindlessly. I try to get it over with so I can start eating, and in doing so I treat this practice as an afterthought. How often do I just blurt out whatever sounds good, speaking to stoke others’ approval rather than from the heart?

I have come to believe that giving thanks before meals should not be a casual ritual done without thought. Instead, praying before eating can enliven your daily walk with Christ and help you connect to Him during the most mundane of actions and events. Saying grace can be a time of meditation and remembrance of God’s generosity and provision at such a simple place as the TV tray or dinner table.

Feeding of the Five Thousand

Jesus gives thanks before meals in the Gospel accounts with far more readiness than we often do. One example of this can be found in the feeding of the five thousand. Upon the beheading of His dear cousin John the Baptist, Jesus and His disciples departed to a solitary place, wanting to rest and be alone (Matthew 14:13, Mark 6:31-32). However, multitudes of people were eager for Jesus’ presence, and they followed Him.

Instead of being understandably annoyed, Jesus had compassion for the people. Explaining this, Charles Spurgeon said, “…His whole being was stirred to its lowest depth, and therefore He proceeded at once to work miracles of mercy among them.” He healed the sick and taught them. However, the later and later it got, the hungrier and hungrier the people became.

The disciples tell Jesus that they should send the crowds away so they can get food themselves, but Jesus didn’t want to do that. Instead, in His great care, He provides wondrously, taking five loaves of bread and two fish.

But before He miraculously multiplies the food to satiate the grumbling bellies of the people, what does He do?

He looks up to heaven and blesses the measly amount.

Somehow, thousands upon thousands of people are fed and satisfied. Jesus is our Provider, and He generously gives us the food we eat every day out of great mercy. Not only does this miracle point us to the source of our daily bread, but it also reveals Jesus’ thankfulness to the Father for what was deemed useless in the face of great hunger, even amidst His grief for His dead cousin. Eating seems like a mundane task, but in reality, we are partaking in the very food that God has sovereignly provided; whether it be a simple piece of toast or a delicious 5-star buffet, we should thank God!

The Last Supper

Another very important event in Scripture which includes Christ giving thanks is the Last Supper. The night before His crucifixion was filled with grief and fear (Matthew 26:37-39), but Jesus still took time to bless the food He and His disciples ate. This food was no small matter, however; it symbolized the Lord’s very body and blood.

“Now as they were eating, 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, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).

What does this moment reveal to us about praying before our meals? Firstly, it reveals the importance of it, as only hours before His death, Jesus still takes the time to do it. Secondly, it points us to a greater spiritual truth in the practice. Jesus gave His body and blood for us so that we could live; He is our spiritual food, the Bread of Life, and we need Him for our spiritual existence just as we need physical food for our stomachs (John 6:35).

What would happen if, before we swallow tangible, physical food that only temporarily satisfies, we thanked God for not only providing it, but for also being the Bread of Life who sustains us and gave Himself for us? Share on X

What would happen if, before we swallow tangible, physical food that only temporarily satisfies, we thanked God for not only providing it, but for also being the Bread of Life who sustains us and gave Himself for us? By doing so, we invite Jesus’ presence to our tables and into our hearts, making even the most mundane daily task (eating) a sacred practice of worship.

A Loved Habit

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus exhorts us to ask the Father for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Similarly, in Psalms 145:15-16, David praises God and says, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” These passages reveal that God is the Provider of our food, He is our true satisfaction, and we can ultimately depend on Him for both the simplest of things and our greatest of needs.

How can you start worshiping and thanking the Bread of Life daily before eating? It will take time and consistency for it to become a loved habit, but it will surely be worth it. By doing so, we follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Here are a few things to remember as you practice giving thanks before your meals:

· Prayer is about the heart, not the words. Don’t worry about sounding good—give glory to God, not yourself!

· God provided the food and the hands that made it. He is worthy of thanks!

· Your prayers doesn’t have to be super long, nor does it have to be super short. Don’t care about the length, focus on fellowship with the Lord.

· It’s okay to mess up and forget to pray. Relationship with God is the aim of doing it, not legalism.

By praying before meals, we invite Jesus’ presence to our tables and into our hearts, making even the most mundane daily task a sacred practice of worship. Share on X

Saying grace can and should be more than just a ritual or an afterthought; instead, it can be a way to glorify God in the simplest of moments we often take for granted. Praising God and enjoying His presence is ultimately much more fulfilling than what’s on your plate!

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About the author

Mylee Kann

Mylee Kann is a 16-year-old girl from Michigan who loves books, history, and Jesus. She is an aspiring Christian writer and filmmaker who wants to spread the truth about Christ to a thirsty generation. Passionate about apologetics, theology, and the pro-life movement in particular, she hopes to use the written word and film to fulfill the Great Commission and be a light to the world, all through God’s mercy and strength alone.


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  • This is really encouraging! I so often find myself either skipping prayer before a meal or only doing it for the sake of the words themselves, but I hope to look at it in a different light now. As a representation that before I partake in this food to remind myself that I need Jesus more than I need whatever is on my plate 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Having a personal relationship with Jesus helps me to pray in public, i don’t do it to offend anyone. I pray quietly and short, thanking Him for another meal and pray for those who are less fortunate that He will provide for the them and to bless the hands who prepare it too.Amen

  • This was super helpful as I’ve been contemplating this topic in my mind. I am impressed by your well written words and deep convictions. Keep doing it for the Lord! Thank you!

By Mylee Kann
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →