What’s with the common table prayer?

What’s with the common table prayer? March 10, 2009

Luther’s SMALL CATECHISM also includes prayers for mealtime:

The eyes of all wait upon You, O Lord, and You give them their food in due season; You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for His mercy endures forever.
We thank You, Lord God, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, for all Your benefits, You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Notice that the old practice was to pray TWICE at a meal. Before you start eating (the blessing) AND after you finish eating (giving thanks).
These are really good prayers, each of which begins with a specific text from the Word of God. So why don’t Lutherans use these prayers, sanctioned in the catechism, no less, instead of the prayer they actually use:

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest,
And let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.

Why is this a good prayer? I have never understood why Lutherans, usually so insistent on solid content, always say this prayer in unison before a meal. It seems, well, childish, and, with its sing-song rhyme, more like a nursery rhyme. Can someone give a good reason for praying that particular prayer? Instead of the Catechism prayers, or a personal ex corde prayer? I mean, we use the prayer ourselves sometimes, so I’d really like a good defense of the Common Table Prayer.

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