Why we say grace before our meals

From Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today by John W. Kleinig, on saying grace before our meal:

“Because God provides us with our daily bread and all that we need for our physical journey on earth, we exercise our faith by saying grace before and after meals. This simple custom, this act of daily thanksgiving, acknowledges two profound realities. On the one hand, it acknowledges that we receive our food, like all our apparent possessions, as a gift from God for our nourishment and enjoyment. On the other hand, it also acknowledges that the triune God is the host of the meal who does not just provide us with food but also wishes to bless us by his presence with us. The saying of grace makes every meal a holy meal because it has been sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.” (56)

Now I understand the Common Table Prayer (“Come Lord Jesus, be our guest/And let thy gifts to us be blest”). It has to do with God’s presence at our meal!

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://uest fws

    I read somewhere that the Lutheran table prayer “come lord jesus” started out as a moravian prayer before the Holy Suppper.

  • http://uest fws

    I read somewhere that the Lutheran table prayer “come lord jesus” started out as a moravian prayer before the Holy Suppper.

  • http://www.gloriachristi.org Pr. John A. Frahm

    http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2688

    Here’s an article also that explains the background of the “Common Table Prayer.”

  • http://www.gloriachristi.org Pr. John A. Frahm

    http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2688

    Here’s an article also that explains the background of the “Common Table Prayer.”

  • http://www.gloriachristi.org Pr. John A. Frahm

    Here’s also a wiki article on it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_table_prayer

  • http://www.gloriachristi.org Pr. John A. Frahm

    Here’s also a wiki article on it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_table_prayer

  • http://uest fws

    The wiki article incorrectly says that the words “o give thanks to the Lord for he is good for his mercy endures forever” is sometimes added at the end.

    this part appears in the catechism, from a psalm in a more extended quote.

    When I was growing up in the Dakotas in a WELS church, they would do something special: before a church dinner they would gather everyone together to say “come lord jesus…” . after the meal they would again gather everyone to “return the blessing”. They would pray “o give thanks to the lord for he is good for his mercy endures forever.

    Lutheran catechetical tradition likewise both begins and ends a meal with prayer. the prayer after the meal is beautifully called^”returning the blessing”.

  • http://uest fws

    The wiki article incorrectly says that the words “o give thanks to the Lord for he is good for his mercy endures forever” is sometimes added at the end.

    this part appears in the catechism, from a psalm in a more extended quote.

    When I was growing up in the Dakotas in a WELS church, they would do something special: before a church dinner they would gather everyone together to say “come lord jesus…” . after the meal they would again gather everyone to “return the blessing”. They would pray “o give thanks to the lord for he is good for his mercy endures forever.

    Lutheran catechetical tradition likewise both begins and ends a meal with prayer. the prayer after the meal is beautifully called^”returning the blessing”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@4), the wiki article is not incorrect. The WELS churches out here in Portland add that line to the end of the common table prayer, said at the beginning of the meal.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@4), the wiki article is not incorrect. The WELS churches out here in Portland add that line to the end of the common table prayer, said at the beginning of the meal.

  • http://uest fws

    interesting Todd. I am 53 years old now. practices change eh? That was not the general practice 40 years ago… sigh. I am feeling O.L.D. Todd. Thanks for reminding me… probably something about having to round everyone up again AFTER they have been fed…. in our current culture this would look about like herding cats.

    the older catechetical form is still way cool doncha think?

  • http://uest fws

    interesting Todd. I am 53 years old now. practices change eh? That was not the general practice 40 years ago… sigh. I am feeling O.L.D. Todd. Thanks for reminding me… probably something about having to round everyone up again AFTER they have been fed…. in our current culture this would look about like herding cats.

    the older catechetical form is still way cool doncha think?

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Exile

    It can also be noted that taking time before a meal to be still, take in the aromas, have gratitude can PHYSICALLY improve our digestion and health. :-)

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Exile

    It can also be noted that taking time before a meal to be still, take in the aromas, have gratitude can PHYSICALLY improve our digestion and health. :-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@6), of course, I have no idea to what degree Portland WELS churches are representative of the synod as a whole. I haven’t eaten meals with WELS people outside the area.

    It’s still strange to me, though, as I grew up in the LCMS (in Texas), where the prayer ended after “to us be blest”. I always look overeager when I eat with my fellow WELS members, looking up when the prayer is only half over.

    I do agree the older form is neat. But it probably does reflect a different era, when people (i.e. kids) asked to be excused from the table. Nowadays, having people start the meal at the same time is somewhat of a minor miracle.

    Anyhow, not sure what cultural weight today carries for you down in Brasil, but happy Thanksgiving! Even if you aren’t having turkey, I’m sure you have much to be thankful for — more so than many today in the U.S. that are “thankful” to no one in particular.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@6), of course, I have no idea to what degree Portland WELS churches are representative of the synod as a whole. I haven’t eaten meals with WELS people outside the area.

    It’s still strange to me, though, as I grew up in the LCMS (in Texas), where the prayer ended after “to us be blest”. I always look overeager when I eat with my fellow WELS members, looking up when the prayer is only half over.

    I do agree the older form is neat. But it probably does reflect a different era, when people (i.e. kids) asked to be excused from the table. Nowadays, having people start the meal at the same time is somewhat of a minor miracle.

    Anyhow, not sure what cultural weight today carries for you down in Brasil, but happy Thanksgiving! Even if you aren’t having turkey, I’m sure you have much to be thankful for — more so than many today in the U.S. that are “thankful” to no one in particular.

  • http://uest fws

    thanks todd! no turkey or pies or collard greens or any of the stuff I like to eat in the usa! beans, rice, some meat.. nothing special down here about today. the more celebrated holidays are purely pagan(like thanksgiving!)… carnival… new years (celebration of the african sea goddess imanja)… so we christians get to celebrate our holidays in church !

  • http://uest fws

    thanks todd! no turkey or pies or collard greens or any of the stuff I like to eat in the usa! beans, rice, some meat.. nothing special down here about today. the more celebrated holidays are purely pagan(like thanksgiving!)… carnival… new years (celebration of the african sea goddess imanja)… so we christians get to celebrate our holidays in church !

  • Pingback: Why Say Grace Before Meals « Confessing the Truth

  • Pingback: Why Say Grace Before Meals « Confessing the Truth

  • Ryan

    FWS, my Grandma is WELS – I learned that addition – o give thanks… – from her (She’s from Southern Wisconsin). My Dad knew it as a kid, so it has been around in various circles long time.

  • Ryan

    FWS, my Grandma is WELS – I learned that addition – o give thanks… – from her (She’s from Southern Wisconsin). My Dad knew it as a kid, so it has been around in various circles long time.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X