Many Christians habitually pray before they eat a meal, but have you ever stopped to wonder why? Is it an empty practice, or vital part of establishing a relationship with God?
I grew up only praying before meals on special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but recently I have been considering why it would be worthwhile to start praying before every meal:
1. There is Biblical evidence to support the practice.
Jesus prays before meals in some of the best-known Bible stories: when He multiples the fish and the loaves and during the Last Supper. It is one of the ways He reminds His followers who provides for them, who deserves their gratitude. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tell us,
“So whether you get or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Praying is a great way of putting our mind on God and making sure our actions glorify Him.
2. It is a good way to establish a habit of prayer.
I find that I pray most often when I have a good routine in place, such as praying every morning or at night before going to bed. Praying before meals not only gives us a reason to pray multiple times a day, but a reason to give thanks to God for something it is easy to take for granted, having a meal. If it is one of your New Year’s resolutions to pray more, this may be one way to achieve that goal.
3. Eating is often a communal activity.
If you pray before each meal, an activity as casual as having lunch with a friend can become an opportunity to strengthen your Christian community. Creating a community in Christ isn’t just done in church or during Bible studies, it is done in everyday life.
I challenge you to start praying before every meal this year, even before breakfast, even if you are eating by yourself. Note the changes you see in your prayer life, it may be just the thing you need to help revitalize it. If your habit of praying before meals is already well established, take some time to reflect why this is an important part of your day. Analyzing the reasons behind our actions can help bring new life into them.
Let this New Year be a reminder that we should never cease in our pursuit of relationship with God; there are always new ways to be close to our Savior!