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)
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:
Table of contents
- 1 1. A Prayer That This Food May Fuel Us to Do Your Work
- 2 2. A Prayer in Remembrance of the Hungry
- 3 3. A Prayer of Confession
- 4 4. A Prayer for Family Mealtime
- 5 5. A Prayer for Mealtime Fellowship
- 6 6. A Prayer for When Someone is Missed at the Table
- 7 7. A Prayer for Dining Out
- 8 8. A Prayer in Remembrance of the Last Supper
- 9 9. A Prayer for When Food is Scarce
- 10 10. A Prayer for the 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.
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
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My JW wife is teaching my nearly-3yr old to pray before meals. I’m cool with that… doesn’t bother me at all. The problem is, I’d like to accept my role as father but I don’t know how to lead in this area.
With my strong agnostic leanings, I don’t observe the practice, personally. While this might sound arrogant to some, as far as I’m concerned, *I* had as much (or more) to do with providing the meal as did a possibly-observant but totally indifferent Deity. Praying a single word of “thanks” to such a one would be silly to me, if not downright hypocritical.
Still, I’m not real comfortable telling my little one that there is no God watching over her. I’m not the least bit interested in telling her that she doesn’t need to pray to someone who may very well not even exist, or if they do, are not particularly interested in her personally.
I guess you can see… I still haven’t got a lot of this agnostic stuff figured out.
Copyright by Bob Rogers
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)
Jesus also blessed the food and gave thanks for it when He fed the 5,000, and when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Thus Christians all over the world make it their regular practice to pray a prayer of blessing and thanks before their meals. But scripture does not record the words Jesus prayed, which is probably a good thing, as it has allowed Christians to develop many different prayers. Here is a collection of prayers I have found from various sources. Of course, it is best to pray from the heart, and avoid getting in a rut. But perhaps by sharing these prayers, it will prompt you to pray some fresh thoughts as you thank God for His blessings each time you eat. Here are the prayers. Where I know the source, I list it in parentheses:
“Thank you, Lord, for the food we are about to receive, and for the nourishment to our bodies. For Christ’s sake, Amen.”
“Humble our hearts, Oh Lord, and make us thankful for these and all our blessings. In Christ name Amen.” (Shared by Brenda Holloway and Darren Thomas)
“Lord, bless this food to our nourishment, and us to Your service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (Traditional prayer I heard in my family.)
“Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive, through Thy bounty through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.” (Traditional Roman Catholic prayer.)
“God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands, we are fed. Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.” (Traditional children’s rhyme.)
“ABCDEFG Thank you, God, for feeding me.”
To the tune of Superman Theme: “Thank you God for giving us food. Thank you God for giving us food. For daily bread, that we are fed. Thank you God , for giving us food” (Shared by Joseph & Beth Copeck)
“Thank You for the food we eat, yum yum! Thank You for the friends we meet, ho ho! Thank You for the birds that sing, a-ling a-ling! Thank You, Lord, for everything, Amen!” (Robin Anker Peterson of Perth, Scotland, sang this happily to his young children.)
To the tune of Frere Jacques (“Brother John”): “God our Father, God our Father, We thank you, We thank you, For our many blessings, For our many blessings, A-men, A-men.”
“Good food, good meat, good Lord, let’s eat. Amen.”
“Lord, bless this bunch as they munch their lunch.”
“Grace in the kitchen, Grace in the hall, please O God, don’t let them get it all.” (Shared by Buddy Wasson)
“Lazarus rose, Moses led, Noah built, Jesus fed. Amen.” (Debbie T. Alsup)
PRAYERS MENTIONING FAMILY AND FRIENDS
“Heavenly Father, bless this food, and bless our friends and family who’ve come to dine with us today. Amen.”
“God, we give you thanks for the delicious food on our table, for the loved ones gathered around, and for you, who make it all possible. We are humbly grateful. Amen.” (Norman Vincent Peale, A Prayer for Every Need)
“Dear Lord, we’ve gathered to share good times, good conversation, good friends, and good food, which we thank you for all. Amen.”
“Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us.” (Shared by Lynda Easterling Stinson)
PRAYERS REMEMBERING THOSE IN NEED
“Give us grateful hearts, O Father, for all thy mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (1928 Book of Common Prayer)
“For food in a world where many are 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. Amen.” (Huron Hunger Fund, Anglican Church of Canada)
“Oh Lord, make us grateful for this food that we are about to receive, as we remember those who do not have enough to eat. Amen.”
PRAYERS MENTIONING THOSE WHO PREPARED THE FOOD
“Thank you, Lord for this food, and bless the hands that prepared it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” (Traditional prayer I heard in my family.)
“God, many hands made this meal possible. Farmers grew it. Truckers drove it. Grocers sold it. We prepared it. Bless all those hands, and help us always remember our dependence on you. Amen.” (Norman Vincent Peale, A Prayer for Every Need)
“You are mighty Lord, and all providing. We thank you for this food we have been given for nourishment and delight. We ask a special blessing to those who prepared this meal with love and care tonight. Amen.”
PRAYERS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
An old Scottish blessing: Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some nae meat but want it. We hae meat and we can eat and sae the Lord be thankit. Translated: Some have meat and cannot eat. Some no meat but want it. We have meat and we can eat and .
Read more at
Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some nae meat but want it. We hae meat and we can eat and sae the Lord be thankit. Translated: Some have meat and cannot eat. Some no meat but want it. We have meat and we can eat and .
Read more at
“Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some nae meat but want it. We hae meat and we can eat and sae the Lord be thankit.” (Some have meat and cannot eat. Some no meat but want it. We have meat and we can eat and so the Lord be thanked.) (Scottish blessing.)
“Alles das wir haben (All that we have), Alles ist gegaben (All of it is a gift), Es kommt, O Gott, von dir (It comes, O God, from you), Wir danken dir dafuer. (We thank you for it.)” (German blessing.)
“Cristo, pan de vida (Christ, bread of life) Ven y bendice esta comida. Amen. (Come and bless this food.)” (Spanish blessing.)
My mom tells the story that when I was a little boy, a family member asked me to say the prayer at a large family gathering. I gave thanks for everything on the table and everything else in sight, and as my prayer went on and on, my mom tried to bring me to an end by interrupting with an “Amen.” I looked up and said, “But I’m not finished praying yet.” I suppose there are two lessons in that story. On the one hand, we need to keep our public prayers short and sweet. But on the other hand, we should never be finished praying from the heart. As scripture says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV).
CLICK BELOW TO READ SOME OF MY OTHER BLOG POSTS ON PRAYER:
In this weird political year, be a patriotic prayer warrior
Prayers for the sick
ABC’s of praying for missionaries
The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 1: Times and Places He Prayed
The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 2: Words that He Prayed
The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 3: Lessons Learned
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