Prayers for a meal

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.

prayers for a meal

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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prayers for a meal

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“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.

At Breakfast
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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