Do You Say Grace

Do you say Grace at meal times? If you do, do you say the grace before or after the meal , or both? If you don't , do you know the Bible instructs us to.

Deuteronomy 8:10 urges us to remember God as the provider for our food and well-being: “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” The broader context of this passage refers to the Jews settling into the promised land over time, so this likely refers to an attitude of regular, community-wide thanksgiving, not necessarily the meal-by-meal prayer of an individual. Nonetheless, many Jews pray before and after meals because of this command. The early church continued the practice of giving thanks, and many North Americans continue to pray at mealtimes, although the habit is falling off.

What could that mealtime prayer include? Traditional prayers thank God, ask that the food will benefit our health and, in some countries, that the food would do no harm. David Bivin, founder and director of Jerusalem Perspective, reminds us that the focus is God, not the food: “The blessing can only be a blessing directed towards God. The blessing that was said in Yeshua’s time before one ate was praise and thanksgiving to God who so wondrously provides food for His children, to Him who ‘brings bread out of the earth.’ One does not bless the food, nor does one even ask God to bless the food. One blesses God who provides the food.”

So you certainly don’t have to say grace before you eat. But whether it’s a meal or a snack, pausing to thank God for the food you’re about to eat (or just ate) is one way to remember who’s providing for your life.