How to pray for dinner

A month ago, James and Ashley asked if I would offer the grace before the meal at their wedding reception. Of course, I said yes right away. While I’ve officiated at a lot of weddings, I’ve had fewer opportunities to offer a table grace, and I felt honoured by their request. Here is the introduction and prayer I offered, followed by a few helpful tips and other sample prayers in case you ever have the privilege of saying grace for a wedding reception.

how to pray for dinner

The Introduction and Prayer

It’s a joy for me to know James and Ashley as uniquely gifted individuals and as a wonderful couple. They are talented and kind, and you know, they’re so organized that not only did they ask me weeks ago for this prayer, but last night James was Facebooking me, “Just writing to remind you about the grace before dinner tomorrow!”

As if I could forget such a privilege of offering a prayer before the first meal that they share together as husband and wife!

So as we pray for this meal and wedding celebration, let’s also pray for James and Ashley and their future together. I’m excited at what God will do in their lives.

O God, the great Creator of this beautiful setting and all that is,
the Lord of life and love,
we give you thanks for all of your goodness:

~ for the abundance of food this evening

~ the abundance of family and friends,

~ the abundance of laughter and love.

We pray that this meal might be a time to nourish our bodies
and nourish strong relationships.

We pray for James and Ashley that the love they share today would flourish and grow.
May they continue in your joy and strength.
May they bless their families as they have been blessed by them.
And may all of us who participate in this celebration,
carry your joy and love with us as we move forward.
For you are the Source and Ground of all being. Amen.

If you’re ever asked to pray before a wedding meal, here are a few helpful tips on writing your prayer:

Start early. Don’t wait until you’re driving to the wedding, or having to madly scribble down some notes while hiding in the washroom between the ceremony and the reception. Jot down your thoughts a week or two before the wedding so you can be well prepared.

Write it out. Speaking off the cuff is great if you can pull it off, but for a smooth delivery so people can focus on your words and not get distracted by the uhs and ums, write out what you want to say.

Say it out loud. Practice it enough so you know it, but not so much that you squeeze the life out of it.

Give your prayer an introduction. Share briefly how you know the couple or what you appreciate about them. Include a short anecdote. Be funny if you can–but think gentle humour instead of embarrassing story.

Keep your focus on the bride and groom. Remember the occasion isn’t about you or your marriage. You might have the microphone for a few moments, but use it to draw attention to the happy couple, not yourself.

Really pray. The prayer before the wedding meal isn’t for show. It’s a real opportunity to pray for the meal, for the couple, and for all those present. Think sincerely, what do you want to pray for the couple? What do you want to pray for the family and friends who have gathered?

Make it a keepsake. For an added touch, print a copy of your prayer and tuck it into your wedding card for the couple.

More Prayers:

These are a few selected excerpts of prayers before the wedding meal. Click through for the rest of the prayer and more samples.

Lord God, Creator of the universe, Father of us all,
we have gathered here around this dinner table to celebrate the love and commitment
that have united (bride’s name) and (groom’s name), in a wonderful bond of marriage.
Dinner Prayer At Wedding Reception

We thank You for giving Your Holy blessing today upon their marriage, and ask that You continue to bless them with Your love and mercy throughout their lives together. Let this be the first of many loving meals shared together with their family and friends, and blessed by Your amazing grace.
Wedding Meal Prayer by Holly Parmer

We have come from many places, many backgrounds, many beliefs, but and have drawn us together to share this meal together, their first meal as a married couple. We are grateful for love which seeks us and finds us. We are grateful for this meal.
Wedding Prayers for the Meal

Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank you for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day, for the hope with which we expect the morrow, for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth. . . .
The Wedding Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Father we thank you for the food that we are about to partake. We ask you to take your place at our tables and be our special guest. As this food nourishes our body and mind, let your Spirit feed our souls.
Scribbles of an Event Planner

May we never forget those who . . .  are in need and may our eyes and our hearts be alert and our hands be open to give from the abundance you have given us. As we break bread together, we remember your sacrifice and know that you are among us.
Prayer Before Dinner

We thank You for providing for us, we ask that You bless this food, and bless those who have worked to prepare it. Thank You for being in our midst, for allowing us to enjoy good fellowship, and for being the perfect example of love. Just as this meal nourishes us and makes us healthy, we ask that You will give this couple a long and healthy life together.
Wedding Prayers and Blessings

Writing/Reflection Prompt: Imagine you’ve been asked to offer a prayer before a wedding dinner, and try writing one of your own. Or if you’ve already written a prayer, consider sharing it in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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Mealtime prayers are essential conversations with God. Paul tells us to: “Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Poverty and starvation are an everyday reality for some, while others of us quench their thirst and put hunger at bay at our leisure. No matter which side of the pendulum we find ourselves on, praying God’s will over our lives and our meals is important. “… for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18b NLT)

Praying God’s blessing over our meals is a simple way to make a big difference on the daily alignment of our hearts. Use dinner time and all other times of eating to recall God’s goodness in your life. It helps us remember that our blessings come from our Creator… who deserves credit for all.

Here are 10 prayers that will fit any mealtime situation, from formal family dinners, to meals on the go at the neighborhood drive-thru:

1. A Prayer That This Food May Fuel Us to Do Your Work

Father, Praise You for the nourishment the You provide. Thank You for meeting our physical needs of hunger and thirst. Forgive us for taking that simple joy for granted, and bless this food to fuel our bodies forward into Your will for our lives. We pray that we will be energized and be able to work for the glory of Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

2. A Prayer in Remembrance of the Hungry

Father, You are mighty and strong to sustain our bodies. Thank You for the meal we are about to enjoy. Forgive us for forgetting how many pray for food to relieve their starvation. Bless and relieve the starvation of those who hunger, Lord, and inspire our hearts to seek out ways that we can help from our abundance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

3. A Prayer of Confession

Father, This meal is the work of Your hands. You have provided for me, again, and I am grateful. I confess my tendency to forget to ask Your blessing upon my life, through the comforts that You have given me to enjoy. So many people lack these daily comforts and it is selfish of me to forget about them in their need. Show me how to make the most of Your blessing in my life, for everything I have is a gift from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

4. A Prayer for Family Mealtime

Father, We have gathered to share a meal in Your honor. Thank You for putting us together as family, and thank You for this food. Bless it to our bodies, Lord. We thank you for all of the gifts you’ve given to those around this table. Help each member of our family use these gifts to your glory. Guide our mealtime conversations and steer our hearts to Your purpose for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

how to pray for dinner

5. A Prayer for Mealtime Fellowship

Father, Praise You for friendship and family! Thank You for bringing us together today to share a meal. The people in our lives bring us such joy, and we are grateful for time spent in fellowship together. Help us use this time to bond closer as a group, and learn to love each other more. Bless our appetites, both physical and spiritual, to honor You in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

6. A Prayer for When Someone is Missed at the Table

Father, We are coping with an empty seat at our table. Be with the one we are without, today, and help us to trust in Your timing, purpose, and great love for us all. As we miss ____________ today, we pray Your blessing over him/her/them, and us, and the space in between now and when we see them next. Until then, may this food bless our bodies, and give us strength to endure the day ahead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

7. A Prayer for Dining Out

Father, Bless this establishment and employees as they prepare and serve our food. Thank You for the opportunity to have our meal brought to us, and the ability to relax and enjoy this time with one another. We understand our privilege to be here, and we pray to be a blessing to those we encounter in this place. Bless our conversation, and may we honor You in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

8. A Prayer in Remembrance of the Last Supper

Father, As we sit here today preparing to eat this food, we remember Your Son. How He came here as a human being, and ate with His family and friends just like we do. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, and that we can look to Him knowing He understands our hunger. Bless us, Lord Jesus, and stir our hearts to remember You in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

9. A Prayer for When Food is Scarce

Father, We come to You hungry, today. It’s hard to understand why we don’t have enough to eat, but we come to You for strength, knowing that You are our provider. Help us to trust that You will sustain us through times of abundance and times of scarcity. Bless us and help us get back up on our feet again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

10. A Prayer for the Drive-Thru

Father, Thank You for the drive-thru, that saves our time on busy days. We pray for those who prepared our food, and we ask that we would be a blessing to them during our brief encounter today. We remember that they are your children, and that they should be treated with kindness and respect, so that they will be able to see You in our actions. Bless this food to our bodies and keep us safe on the road today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.

Prayer for Healing

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how to pray for dinner

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