November 20th 2009

Why Say ‘Grace’?

“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.”

Psalm 116:17 (KJV) 

I heard a story about an atheist in the forest who came across a fierce lion.  He ran, stumbled and turned in terror to find the lion upon him.  Just as it was about to tear him to pieces the atheist, as a last resort, prayed, “God, please make this lion a Christian.”  Upon which the lion stopped in its tracks, put its paws together and said, “For what I am about to receive, may the Lord make me truly thankful.” 

 This short ‘grace’ or prayer before a meal is a well-known benediction and is used by millions of Christians every day.  Many of us say it by habit and it becomes a rote action that loses it’s meaning.  Perhaps God gets tired of hearing the same old thing every day too?  Could it be ‘vain repetition’? 

I have heard others like “Rub a dub dub, Thanks for the grub”, and “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest:  Let this food by you be blest”!  Do you think that God is insulted by light-hearted verse in prayer?  Or perhaps he enjoys the rhyme as well as the efforts on our behalf to compose our words for him? 

Why say grace, anyway?  Saying grace, or asking God’s blessing on a meal is a beneficial exercise when we say it from the heart with meaning and understanding.*It expresses thankfulness.

*It honours God that we desire his blessing.

*It turns our mind briefly to appreciation for our daily bread and away from our problems as we consider those who do not have food.

*It follows the example of Jesus in Matthew 15:36.  He gave thanks before breaking the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude.  It is therefore a ‘Christian’ exercise, like the lion in the story! 

When you have eaten and are full then bless the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:10). 


Lord, help us not to take our food for granted but to give you thanks and ask for your continued blessing upon our nourishment and health.


Study by Nancy Silcox 

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