Prayers Before Meals (Grace)
Meals are an important time to realize how lucky we are to have enough to eat, and give God thanks. We hope you will find these blessing useful.
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Two Commonly Used Blessings
Bless, O Lord, this food to our use and us to thy service, and keep us ever mindful of the needs of others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
For this and all we are about to receive, make us truly grateful, Lord. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
There are hundreds of prayer forms used before meals. Here are some good ones:
For good food and those who prepare it, for good friends with whom to share it, we thank you Lord.
For food in a world where many walk in hunger;
For faith in a world where many walk in fear;
For friends in a world where many walk alone;
We give you thanks, O Lord.
Let us thank God for food when others are hungry; for drink when others are thirsty; for friends when others are lonely.
Be present at our table, Lord!
Be here and everywhere adored.
Your mercies bless, and grant that we
May feast in Paradise with Thee
(or: May strengthened for thy service be.)
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits.
Blessed be God, eternal king, for these and all his good gifts to us.
Our Dear Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for this food. Feed our souls on the bread of life and help us to do our part in kind words and loving deeds. We ask in Jesus’ name.
Our Heavenly Father, kind and good,
we thank Thee for our daily food.
We thank Thee for Thy love and care.
Be with us Lord, and hear our prayer.
Most Holy, Righteous and everywhere present God,
our Father who art in Heaven,
we ask thy blessing upon this food.
Bless the hearts and hands that provide the same.
And when it is ours to pass from time to eternity,
own us and crown us heirs to Thy kingdom.
These favors and blessings we ask in the name of Christ,
our Great Redeemer.
From thy hand cometh every good,
We thank thee for our daily food.
And with it Lord, thy blessing give,
And to thy glory may we live.
Great God accept our gratitude,
For the great gifts on us bestowed–
For rainment, shelter and for food.
Great God, our gratitude we bring,
Accept our humble offering,
For all the gifts on us bestowed,
Thy name be evermore adored.
May this food so fresh and fragrant, call forth reverence for You in our souls. As you give this strength to our perishable limbs, So give us grace for our immortal lives.
Be present at our table, Lord; Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless, and grant that we May feast in fellowship with thee.
Blessing for Thanksgiving Day
Our Father in Heaven, we give thanks for the pleasure of gathering together for this occasion. We give thanks for this food prepared by loving hands. we give thanks for life, the freedom to enjoy it all, and all other blessings.
As we partake of this food, we pray for health and strength to carry on and try to live as You would have us. This we ask in the name of Christ, Our Heavenly Father. Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for this special day, a day to remember Your goodness to us.
Thank You for a roof over our heads, and more than enough food to eat.
Thank You for the family You have given to us, for family and friends who have gathered together to eat this Thanksgiving Day meal. Amen
O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.
Especially Suitable for Children
For food and health and happy days
receive our gratitude and praise
In serving others Lord may we
Repay our dept of love to thee.
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.
God is great, God is good.
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands, we are fed.
Let us thank him for our bread.
God our Father, Lord and Saviour
Thank you for your love and favor
Bless this food and drink we pray
And all who shares with us today.
Without Thy sunshine and Thy rain
We could not have the golden grain;
Without Thy love we’d not be fed;
We thank Thee for our daily bread.Amen.
This clever one was written by Robert Burns
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.
We thank you, God
We thank you, God, for this our food,
for life and health and every good.
Let manna to our souls be given —
the bread of life sent down from heaven.
From a hymn by John Cennick, 1745
Several from Ireland:
May the blessing of the five loaves and the two fishes which God shared out among the five thousand be ours. May the King who did the sharing bless our sharing and our co-sharing.
Bless, O Lord, this food we are about to eat; and we pray You, O God, that it may be good for our body and soul; and if there be any poor creature hungry or thirsty walking along the road, send them into us that we can share the food with them, just as You share your gifts with all of us.
May this food restore our strength, giving new energy to tired limbs, now thoughts to weary minds. May this drink restore our souls, giving new vision to dry spirits, new warmth to cold hearts. And once refreshed, may we give new pleasure to You, who gives us all.
This one is from the Carmina Gadelica collected by Alexander Carmichael, late 1800’s
Give us O God of the nourishing meal, well-being to the body, the frame of the soul.
Give us O God of the honey-sweet milk,
the sap and the savor of the fragrant farms.
God in our waking, God in our speaking;
God in our cooking, God in our eating;
God in our playing, God in our digesting;
God in our working, God in our Resting.
In a world where so many are hungry,
may we eat this food with humble hearts;
in a world where so many are lonely,
May we share this friendship with joyful hearts.
O you who clothe the lilies of the field, and feed the birds of the air, who leads the sheep to pasture and the hart to the water’s side, who has multiplied the loaves and fishes and converted the water to wine, do come to our table as giver and guest, to dine.
O Lord, who clothes the lilies
And feeds the birds of the sky,
Who leads the lambs to pasture
And the deer to the waterside,
Who has multiplied loaves and fishes
And converted water to wine,
O Lord, come to our table,
As guest and giver, to dine.
Lord, bless this food and grant that we May thankful for thy mercies be. Teach us to know by whom we’re fed; Bless us with Christ, the living bread.
Blessings for Christmastide
In the peace of this season our spirits are joyful: With the beasts and angels, the shepherds and stars, with Mary and Joseph we sing God’s praise. By your coming may the hungry be filled with good things, and may our table and home be blessed. Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God of all gifts, we thank you for the many ways you have blessed us this day. We are grateful each of those who are gathered around this table. We ask you to bless us and our food and to bless those we love who are not with us today. In our gratitude and love, we remember your humble birth into our lives and pray for those who are are without enough to eat. We remember the stable in which you were born and pray for those who have no place to live. We remember your challenging message of caring and giving and we pray for peace in families and nations throughout the world. We bless you and give you thanks in your Spirit who brings our hearts to life the Christmas Day and forever. Amen.
Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient song,
Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given
While angels sing with pious mirth.
A glad new year to all the earth! Amen.
(written by Martin Luther)
“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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