In a book called Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord, by Dave Stone, there is a chapter on the importance of praying with and for our children. A friend and I have been reading through and discussing this book together. We came upon the topic of dinner prayer time. Both her husband’s family and my family have a prayer that they always say before a meal. It is what I refer to as a rote prayer – same words every time. There is deep tradition and family ties in such prayers. But there is so much more to what is there. More than mere words and sentiment.
Our family was taught to pray:
Come Lord Jesus, be our guest,
And let this food, to us be blessed. Amen.
The beauty and power of prayers lifted to Jesus is such a tremendous gift in our lives. Many religious people stop at several specified times each day to pray to God. They practice being in His presence. This idea of praying before we eat, praying over our food, that it would bless us, praying a thanksgiving for God’s provision is just one point in our day – three obvious places to stop and pause and say “Thank You Lord.” We bless the hands that prepared the food, we bless those who’s hard work put the food on our table, we bless the abundance of the earth, and are thankful for the sun and the rain that God provides. Thankful for the farmers who raised the meat and crops. Thankful for good health.
Help this food to nourish and strengthen our bodies for Your use.
It reminds us the purpose of eating well. We are to take good care of our bodies so that we may be a vessel to be used by God to build His kingdom. Overeating, wastefulness, poor food choices all work contrary to this goal. Busy family schedules, eating on the run, drive throughs and processed foods to speed things up at night all diminish our nourishment from what God intended to be extremely restorative and beneficial.
I don’t know who jokingly prayed that God might transform the molecular structure of the Cheetos he was about to eat so they might nourish his body, but he has a point. We make many socially acceptable choices that are not going to be blessed by our Lord because they are not in line with His will for us regardless of how we pray. Scripture reminds us that we do not receive when we pray because we pray with the wrong motives – our will not God’s will.
James 4:3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
I am so grateful for a family tradition of prayer. I remember my grandmother making us “repray” because we had rushed too quickly through the prayer, not meaning what we were saying… This happened regularly. She wanted us dearly to understand that we were inviting Jesus to dine with us; inviting Him in to our homes, to our tables, to our lives. Come Lord Jesus, be our guest. Food grand enough to feed our King. Food healthy enough to sustain our lives for His service. Thankful hearts. Traditions passed on to the next generation teaching her grandchildren to love the Lord.
Don’t underestimate the seemingly small details of life when you are walking with Jesus. He multiplies our efforts and magnifies the glory to God. Take a few minutes to be thankful today for all that God has set before you. He loves you.
Be encouraged. Press on.