Prayers for Mealtime
Een christelijcke benedictie voor, een gracias na den eaten
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 3.11
Courtesy Herald Press, Scottdale, PA (1984), Menno Simons, Author (c. 1557), Leonard Verduin, translator (1955), H. C. Wenger, editor (1955), The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, c. 1496-1561, p 955-958, Herald Press.
This Is a Christian Grace Before Meals, Together with a Prayer of Thanksgiving After Meals – Intended for all Genuinely God-fearing Folk, and Moreover Intended to Be Taught to Their Children from Childhood on, in Order That They May Learn to Fear the Lord, May Learn to Know Him, and to Walk in His Commandments All Their Days, to the Praise and Glory of the Lord and to the Salvation of Their Souls. Amen.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
I. A CHRISTIAN GRACE BEFORE MEALS
O give thanks unto the Lord, said David, for He is good. For His goodness and mercy endureth forever. O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. O fear the Lord, ye His saints, for there is no want to them that fear Him. The rich He sends away empty, but they that fear the Lord shall have lack of nothing. He giveth food to those that fear Him. He remembers His covenant forever.
Thou shalt eat the labor of they hands; happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee. They wife shall be as a fruitful vine in the innermost part of thy house; thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, thus shall the man be blest that feareth the Lord.
I have been young and now I am old, says David, and have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread, even as Thou hast, O Lord, demonstrated to the children of Israel. Thou hast given them bread from heaven and water out of the flinty rock in the wilderness forty years long. O Lord, Thou hast fed Elijah with flesh and with bread byt eh ravens morning and evening – also by the widow of Zarephath in that the meal did not diminish in the jar nor the oil in the cruse for a long time, according to the word spoken by the Prophet Elijah, the Tishbite – and by the angel of the Lord, with bread and with water under the juniper bush when he fled before Jezebel. O Lord, Thou has fed Daniel in the den of lions in Babylon by the angel of the Lord, and by the Prophet Habakkuk with the victuals which he had prepared for his reapers. Habakkuk spoke saying, Daniel, Daniel, take of the food which God has sent to you. And Daniel spoke saying, And, Lord, Thou art ever mindful of me and dost not forsake those that call upon Thee and love Thee. And he rose up and ate. O Lord, Thou has so wonderfully, and unexpectedly, and, according to the Word of the Lord spoken by Elisha the prophet of the Lord, fed those of Samaria when the hunger was so great that the women (by nature quite pitiful, as Lamentations has it) did sod and eat their own children, even as at Jerusalem.
O Lord, Thou hast with five barley loaves and two fishes fed about five thousand men, not counting women and children – twelve basketfuls remaining – by the power of Thy prayer of blessing and thanksgiving. What is impossible with men is possible with God. This , Lord, Thou Thyself hast declared.
Therefore, Thou has in the Gospel taught Thy children that fear Thee saying, Take no thought for thy life, what ye shall eat and what ye shall drink, nor for the body what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food and the body than raiment? Consider the birds of the heaven. They sow not, neither do they gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them nevertheless. Are you not much more than they? Which of you can add one cubit to his stature by being careful for it? And why do you take thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin – I ay unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into oven, would He not much more do such for you, O ye of little faith! Therefore, do not be filled with care saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? After these things do the Gentiles seek but your Father knows that ye have need of all these things. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. It is enough that every day carries it own burdens, as Christ says.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world; and neither can we carry anything out. But having food and covering we shall be therewith content, etc. For God has created meat, says Paul, to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified through the Word of God and prayer.
For this reason let us pray: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil [one], for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
How lovingly do the eyes of het Lord behold the righteous. His ears are open to their prayers. And if there is any lack among His people, He fill sit with every good gift. Their daily bread comes to them unexpectedly out of the hand of the Lord their God.
The heavens are the Lord’s, says David, and all that is in them; the earth, and the fields, and all that on them is. Therefore, humble yourselves wholly before the mighty hand of God and fear the Lord, the Almighty God.
Therefore, eat and drink at this time, friends, together, for this food is given of God, our heavenly Father. Therefore, to Him be praise, honor, glory, and thanksgiving from eternity to eternity. Amen.
II. A CHRISTIAN GRACE OR PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AFTER MEALS
We thank Thee, Lord God and Father, Creator of heaven and earth, for all Thy good gifts which we, O Father of lights, have received of Thee, and receive daily out of Thy liberal hand through Jesus Christ, Thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord, Thou who has clothed our bodies with the needed covering and hast satisfied them with the natural bread.
We pray Thee humbly, as our dearly beloved Father, to look upon us, Thy children, persecuted for the sake of Thy holy Gospel, and earnestly desirous in our weakness, to live devoutly in this world. Be pleased to keep us in Thy Word in fatherly fashion, in order that to the end of our days we may remain constant in Thy Word and Gospel, revealed by Thee to the plain and simple, and hidden to the wise ones of this world. Look upon us with Thine eye of pity, as Thou didst upon the prodigal son, upon Mary Magdalene, upon the woman of Canaan, the centurion, the thief on the cross, Zacchaeus, and upon all those who have with tears desired Thy grace.
And feed our souls in like fashion with that heavenly bread, Thy holy Word, by which our poor souls may live, and give us to drink of that living water, the Holy Spirit, who can lead us into all truth, whom the world cannot receive because it knows Him not, nor sees Him, even as Thou Thyself, O Lord, hast said. For the world lieth in wickedness, said John, and will perish with all that is therein; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
Therefore we pray Thy Fatherly mercy, with sorrowful hearts, and out of the depth of our souls, for all men, for kings, and for all magistrates, in order that we may live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and gravity. For, said Paul, this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
O Lord, be pleased to enlighten them with Thy grace, those that are still in darkness and who walk in the ways of death and err unwittingly; and receive all those who with a firm trust come to Thee seeking Thy grace and mercy, confessing that they know not, and that henceforth they would live after the will of God, to reform their lives, do penance, be converted, be born again, believe the Gospel and obey it, confess it before the world, and live it. This we pray, O holy Father, for Thy great name’s sake.
We also pray, dear Lord, especially for all those who confess Thy holy Word aright and who seek to live according to it in their poor weakness. Be pleased to guard them against all false doctrine and carnality of life; against the wiles of Satan, who, according to the holy Paul, transforms himself into an angel of light. Keep them also from temptation, and from the love and friendship of this world which according to the holy James is enmity with God, lest Thy Holy Spirit be grieved and Thy holy Gospel be blasphemed among the foolish and the perverse.
This we pray, O eternal Father of lights from whom all good and perfect gifts come forth, even as James says, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord, in whom Thou art well pleased and at whose name every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth, and before whom all tongues must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God His Father; and, as the holy Paul teaches, through Him in whose name we must all be saved and of pure grace. And we believe, moreover, that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, other than in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, even as Peter testified before the Council at Jerusalem, to whose high and holy and altogether adorable name be praise and honor, power and majesty, from eternity to eternity.
I. Grace Before the Meal (arr. Bruderthaler, 2013)
As the Psalmist proclaims, Give Thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s goodness and mercy are eternal. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed are those who trust in God. Good Christians, fear the Lord, for those that fear God shall lack nothing. God turns away the wealthy empty-handed but those who follow God are filled. Those who fear God will be fed. God’s promise is guaranteed forever.
Your labor will be rewarded with plenty; you will be happy and content. Your partner will be likewise blessed for their efforts and labor; your children will be healthy and full of life, strong like saplings of the olive tree, planted around your table. These are the blessings that will come to the household that fears God.
In the Psalms, David says, I was once young, and now I am old. I have never seen a Christian forsaken by God, or a Christian family go hungry. Lord, you proved yourself in this way to ancient Israel. You gave them bread in the form of manna from heaven, and from the hard rock, you gave them water to drink. You did this for forty years.
Lord, you met the physical needs of your servant Elijah, first by bread and meat brought to him by ravens every morning and every evening, and then, through the faith of the widow of Zarephath in response to the promise you gave her through Elijah in the miracle of her jar of flour and meal that did not run out and her cruse of oil that never ran dry as long as they were needed. You also provided for Elijah through your ministering angels who delivered bread and water to the juniper bush under which he hid from Jezebel.
Lord, your angel fed Daniel while in Babylon in the den of lions. Lord, you also provided for Daniel through your servant Habakkuk who fed him from the meal prepared for his own workers. Recognizing Daniel’s need, Habakkuk told him Take and eat of this food God has provided for you. In praise, Daniel thanked God, saying, Lord, You are aware of me and my needs and never forget those who pray to you in faith and love you. Daniel ate that meal.
Even more wonderfully and unexpectedly, Lord, you miraculously fulfilled your promise given to them through Elijah, your prophet, and fed those of Samaria who were so hungry that they butchered and ate their own children, just as they had done in Jerusalem.
Lord, with five barley loaves and two fishes, you fed about five thousand men, not counting women and children, with twelve basketfuls of leftovers, through the power of your prayer of blessing and thanksgiving. It is as you have said, that what is impossible with men is possible with God.
Being God, you taught us in your Gospel, Do not worry for your life, what you will eat, what you will drink nor what clothes you will wear. Life is more than food and your body is more than clothing. Look at how the birds do not plant seeds, nor do they harvest them or build warehouses, and yet, God feeds them. Are you not more important to God than are these birds? Which of you can change your height by worrying about it? And so why do worry about clothing? Look at the lilies in the wild, they do not work, they do not spin thread or weave cloth, but I tell you that not Solomon had clothing as fine as do they. If God takes such care for the appearance of mere grasses which are there for a season and then burnt for fuel, would God not take even better care of you? Do not doubt God. Do not waste time worrying about what you will eat, or what you will drink or how you will be clothed. Let the World worry about such things, but as for you, know that God knows your needs and will provide for them to be met. Focus instead on the Kingdom of God and on God’s righteousness, and God will take care of everything you need. Do not worry about tomorrow but let tomorrow worry about itself. As Christ says, there are enough worries in the day.
Replace worry with godliness and contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, nor will be take anything out of it. Our needs are met and be content with that for as Paul says, God created meat to be received with thanksgiving by those who trust God and know the Truth. Every creature of God is good and nothing is to be rejected, but rather received with thanksgiving for it is made acceptable through the Word of God and prayer.
For this reason, pray this prayer: Heavenly Parent, who dwells in the Heavens, may your name be exalted and may your Kingdom be founded, your will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Provide for us our daily needs and forgive us our debts of grace and gratitude as forgive others. Do not let us be distracted from your promises by the evil one, for it is Your Kingdom, your power , and your glory, forever. Amen.
The Lord looks upon the Christian in love. The Lord will hear their prayers. If anyone lacks anything, God will supply their need. As if by miracle, their daily bread comes to them directly from the hand of God.
As we read in the Psalms, The entire Cosmos belongs to God, everything that exists, the earth, the fields and everything in them. So humble yourselves before God’s greatness and trust the Lord.
Friends, God has provided this food and drink to you. Enjoy this meal together and praise God. May God’s honor and glory and our thanksgiving last forever, for all eternity. Amen.
II. Grace After the Meall at Jerusalem, to whose high tble name be paise and honor, power and majesty, from eternity to eternity.erusalem, to whose hig (arr. Bruderthaler 2013)
Thank you, Lord, our spiritual parent and creator of Heaven and Earth, for every good thing you have given us. Daily, we receive your blessings through the gift of Jesus Christ, your child, our Lord, who so generously provides clothing for our nakedness and food to cure our hunger.
Lord, we ask you to remember us, your creations, your children, who are persecuted for following your Gospel. We are weak, but we strongly desire to live as faithful Christians in this world. Please Lord, as a loving parent, bind us to your will so that we will remain faithful as long as we live. You have revealed your Word and your Gospel to the plain and the simple, yet it seems like foolishness to those who are wise according to the ways of the world.
Take pity on us with compassion, just as you did the prodigal son, Mary Magdalene, the woman of Canaan, the centurion, the thief on the cross, Zacchaeus, and everyone else who has come to you in tears, seeking your grace.
Lord, our souls are hungry. Please feed them with the spiritual bread of your holy Word, that they might receive spiritual life. Lord, please let us drink of the living water, the Holy Spirit, who leads us into truth. The world cannot drink this water because you have not revealed its source to them. This world is wicked and full of evil. John states that this world will be destroyed, but that the Christian who does your will live forever.
Lord, we come to you in sorrow, begging your mercy. From the bottom of our hearts, we pray for the world’s rulers and for all those who enforce the will of the world’s governments that we might live quietly and in peace, that we might live our faith earnestly and in truth. We claim the words of Paul that you would have all persons saved and come to know the truth of Salvation and experience the good and perfect will of God.
Lord, in your grace, open the eyes of those who live in darkness, who remain in spiritual death rather than life and who commit errors that they themselves do not understand. Please acknowledge everyone who comes to you in faith, seeking your grace and mercy, who were ignorant of their error but that from now on desire to reform their lives, to repent, to be converted, to be born again, believing the Gospel and living it as a confession before the World. Lord, we ask this so that your name might be honored.
Lord, we pray for those who have stated a desire to live according to your Word, but are weak. Please guard them from false teachings and worldly temptations; and the wiles of that trickster, Satan, who often falsely appears as light. Shield the weak from temptation and from falling in love with the world and its delights. James tells us that being in love with the world is to be the enemy of God, grieving the Holy Spirit. Lord, do not allow your holy Gospel to be blasphemed by the foolish and those who scoff.
Lord, we ask this in your name, you who from whom we receive the spiritual light and all good and perfect gifts, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, your beloved child, master of heaven and earth, who glorifies your will and before whom all of us will one day appear to be judged, and in whose name we must be saved, for there is only one grace, that of the Lord Jesus Christ, and none other. May the name of Christ be praised, now and forever. Amen.