A couple weeks ago my friend Stephen was telling me that in spite of his wife’s wry looks, he always prayed over his food. “I’ve been behind the scenes in a restaurant and I know what can happen.” I had just been back-of-house in one of the hotels that very week and also saw some not so great things happening with the food, so I knew what he was talking about.
After Stephen told me his story, I thought, “I need to get back in the habit of asking God to bless my food.” I remember as a child sitting around the dinner table with my family and we said a blessing over the food before we ate, but sadly I’ve gotten out of practice except for the formal prayer at holiday dinners.
I’m pretty sure some of the intestinal issues we deal with these days could be avoided if we will remember to pray before we eat.
I hadn’t put my new plan into action yet and this week I had two separate incidents of bad food. One was my fault because I forgot to put my salad dressing back in the refrigerator after work and I used it the next day—stomach cramps, yuk. The other was with some milk I put in my coffee in the morning. The milk was beginning to sour even though the date said it was okay. I didn’t realize it until my roommate told me later. Fortunately I was fine, but I bet if I had prayed first, the Lord would have warned me.
First Thessalonians 5:18 says that in everything we are to give thanks. Jesus was our great example: “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would” (John 6:11).
After mulling it over for a few days, this is the prayer I came up with: “God I thank you for this food that it will nourish my body. And thank you for protecting me from any unknown evil that might be in it.” I felt I needed to add the last sentence in light of all the additives, genetically engineered foods and unclean food handling habits these days.
In Bible times they ate pretty purely; maybe some goat’s milk gone bad, but they didn’t have to deal with all the stuff we deal with today. Even if we do our best to eat organically and avoid genetically engineered food, there are still so many hidden factors.
Like with any new or rejuvenated habit, it takes time for it to become second nature. Today I was about 50% better than yesterday. (I only remembered to pray once I’d already started my lunch.) But tomorrow I expect to do better and the next day even better.
Thanks Stephen for inspiring me not only to be thankful, but ultimately healthier too, both of which are God’s will for our lives.
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