Blessing the Food

April 2, 2004 | 50 comments
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Adam has raised an interesting point about preparation for prayer, which reminded me of a question I’ve wondered about for a while: why do we bless our food?

We are commanded to recognize the Lord’s hand in all things (D&C 49:21), and a prayer of thanks for our food is an obvious way to do so, so I don’t wonder why we begin our meals with prayer. Instead I wonder why we almost universally speak of that prayer as a “blessing on the food” (rather than a prayer of thanks) and why we feel that words of blessing on the food are a necessary part of such prayers. Is this a custom whose origins are lost in our history? Is it an artefact of the New England origins of so many early converts? Something remaining from a time when unrefrigerated food was more dangerous than it is today?

Any ideas?

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50 Responses to Blessing the Food

  1. Bob Caswell on April 2, 2004 at 11:32 am

    Growing up as a kid in the Church, I had the sick and twisted thought of wanting to poison the food before someone blessed it just to see if blessings really worked. Thankfully, I never tried it. But I hope other kids don’t have the warped mind that I did.

  2. cooper on April 2, 2004 at 11:40 am

    We have a different take in our home. We don’t ask that the food be blessed for nutrition’s sake. We express gratitude for the bounty of food and then ask for it to be blessed. Basically to thank the animal or plant life for their sacrifice on our behalf. Some people might think that is goofy. However when we began approaching the use of food in that way, we began to see less and less of it wasted.

  3. Kim Siever on April 2, 2004 at 11:49 am

    We don’t bless our food in our house; we ask for it to be blessed.

  4. Ryan S. on April 2, 2004 at 12:11 pm

    I never gave the “blessing on the food” prayer much thought until I was on my mission. Those mission field prayers were some of the most sincere I have ever uttered. There were a few (silent) prayers went like this “…and please bless this food, or whatever this is we are about to eat, that it won’t hurt or kill us…”

  5. Andy West on April 2, 2004 at 12:13 pm

    I sometimes toy with the idea of just saying one prayer in the morning that goes something like this: “Please bless all the food I will eat today.” I suppose I could even do it for the whole week, month, or year. My wife doesn’t approve.

    I think the question of blessing food is also an issue of repetitious and insincere prayer. We tend to say the same thing every time (“nourish and strengthen our bodies”–who talks like that?)
    I guess the purpose of the prayer is primarily for thanks, but then we figure that as long as we are praying, we might as well throw in a quick blessing request, just in case a young Bob Caswell was in the kitchen area prior to the meal.

  6. Bob Caswell on April 2, 2004 at 1:05 pm

    Shameless / Shameful Self Promotion:

    I just posted over at http://www.bobandlogan.com more thoughts on other sick and twisted ideas I had as a kid. I’d appreciate anyone’s feedback.

  7. Jim F. on April 2, 2004 at 1:19 pm

    Kim: In my mind, asking a blessing on the food (my wording) and asking that the food be blessed (your wording) are the same. But in both cases, the question remains: why do we ask that the food be blessed rather than merely offer our thanks for it? Is that perhaps a product of our way of praying: we have four parts to prayer and feel that we have to include each; since we are supposed to petition for something, we ask for a blessing on the food?

    Cooper: I’ve sometimes heard prayers in which people express thanks for the animals whose lives were sacrificed to provide the meal, and I like that. But how is that a matter of blessing the food?

    Bob: I would be thankful if you would stay away from any food that I may be about to eat.

    Ryan: I’ve had similar experiences, but I don’t have them often now. (Though the sickest I ever got–I literally almost died–was from a hamburger in Orem, Utah.) Tainted food isn’t often a problem for American, European, and many other Saints. Why, then, do we ask for a blessing on our food?

  8. Thom on April 2, 2004 at 1:44 pm

    Yeah Andy, your right. “We ask THEE” or “we thank THEE for what THOU HAST done.” Who does talk like that? Why should we even consider addressing the Almighty in a way that departs from our typical pedestrian speech?

  9. Thom on April 2, 2004 at 1:46 pm

    Sorry Andy, that was snarky. Please accept my apologies. I’ll try harder at self-censoring before I post again.

  10. aporitic on April 2, 2004 at 1:57 pm

    In our house, growing-up, there was a predetermined and VERY rote prayer said before each meal. Deviation from the prescribed order of this prayer was certain to be met with a stern look, if not a verbal admonition, from my dad.

    I still laugh every time I think about my grandmother who called us on it once, not that many years ago. She said, “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, ‘bless this food to nourish and strengthen us,’ like it wouldn’t nourish you anyway.”

    She might have been the little kid who told the emperor he had no clothes, too.

  11. Bob Caswell on April 2, 2004 at 2:02 pm

    Jim: Noted. I’ll make sure to test out my theory on other people. At the SMPT conference you may not have known how close your food was to being part of my experiment. :-)

  12. Jeremy on April 2, 2004 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve been lurking on this excellent site for a while and haven’t left any comments but this post discusses some things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

    I stopped blessing the food when praying before meals in my family. I express thankfulness for the food, our home and anything else I’m particularly thankful for and then close the prayer in Jesus name. I realized a couple of years ago that I didn’t see any point in asking that the food be blessed so I stopped including that vainly in my prayers at dinner time.

    I’ve also noticed that over the years since my mission I’ve stopped saying “thee” or “thou” in my prayers too. Is that bad? Does the Lord like my prayers less because I don’t refer to him using old english pronouns? I realized that I felt more like I was talking to a close friend when I spoke normally in my prayers but I have wondered if this lack of formality was disrespectul.

    I sure like this site and hope its ok that I’m intruding with my thoughts!

  13. Steve Evans on April 2, 2004 at 2:08 pm

    Laying our hands on some meals is messy and/or painful. My wife and I just bless the ingredients in a separate ceremony.

    Jim, my guess is that our blessings are a throwback to saying ‘grace’. Perhaps in the days before food science, eating safely was more of a crapshoot? In any event, most of us just use those prayers as a chance to give thanks. Personally, I like to think of it as ‘consecrating’ in effect the food God has given, to promise to Him to use its strength in the way He would want. That sounds hokey on paper but it’s an honest feeling.

  14. Kristine on April 2, 2004 at 3:13 pm

    Thom, Jeremy, fwiw “thee” and “thou” are familiar forms of address, not formal ones. They were used to address family members or people of lower social status, NOT one’s superiors. In many other languages which retain their formal forms of address, prayer uses the familiar (in French one prays “tu/toi,” in German “du,” etc.) It’s a mistake to think that “thee” and “thou” are somehow more reverent than “you.”

  15. Steve Evans on April 2, 2004 at 3:30 pm

    Kristine, you’re right and you’re wrong here, aren’t you? I mean, you’re grammatically and technically correct, but you’re wrong in terms of modern English usage and in terms of how the Church addresses this issue. The Church doesn’t hang on to these archaic uses because of the personal, familiar way they make our speech.

  16. Cal on April 2, 2004 at 3:32 pm

    I think we can answer why we ‘bless’ the food by first answering what we think a blessing is. Maybe it’s just me, but I really think the average every day Mormon thinks in terms of blessings as good consequences. Those good consequences being that which makes our life easier, safer, more financially stable and so on. In this view, it’s the simple equation of following the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the best of our ability in exchange for those highly sought after “good consequences”.

    I really do think that equation runs rampant in the Church. How many times have you heard someone get up and bear their testimony to the truthfulness of that equation? And so, if we believe that equation I think it follows quite nicely that we should be asking for blessings on food and so forth. I mean, who would want to eat their food completely paranoid because they failed to ask for a blessing on it…Oh no, God’s going to make me sick ’cause I was too lazy to pray!!!

    I tend to think that viewing blessings as good consequences is very flawed yet at the same time very seductive. There’s definitely a part of us that wants some kind of guarantee that our efforts will benefit our daily lives. Why else do warrantee’s sell so well? Humans really don’t do well with chance. So, we constantly want to take the chance out of the equation and cling to something that guarantee’s our future.

    This kind of view might even work for quite a long time. If we’re skilled in guaranteeing our future we’ll make small revisions here and there to make life’s inconvenieces fit the big picture. However, when life, as it surely will, takes a painful turn our small revisions need to become much bigger to where in many cases we can’t help but see the inconsistency of our position. Thus, this view will usually lead to inactivity, bitternes, and so on, or just wholesale dishonesty with oneself.

    To me, and this is definitely open to discussion, a blessing occurs when we are able to see and recognize God’s hand in our life regardless of the occasion–be it something we might lable “good” or “bad”. In this way, blessings are not material in nature. They are constantly around us waiting to be recognized. Sadly, the hard times are what usually help us recognize how blessed we really are, unless of course we are mired in the equation of good consequences

  17. Arwyn on April 2, 2004 at 3:32 pm

    That’s a great question. I’m often disappointed when a prayer before meals degenerates (as it often does at my house when the younger kids are offering the prayer) into a quickly spoken “…andpleaseblessthisfoodthatitmaystrengthenandnourishourbodies…” that’s either tossed into the prayer somewhere, else sometimes seems the whole of it. I sometimes wonder if that doesn’t fall into the catagory of vain repetitions — because it’s so often repeated that it does indeed seem vain and without real feeling.

    As for the familiar pronouns — I’ve always been touched by the fact that we do go our of our way to use an archaic familiar pronoun in addressing our Father. Other languages that have one use it — the Russians use ‘ty’ instead of ‘vy’, and they can be extremely sensitive to the ty/vy distinction in every-day life — while we’ve kept one that has fallen out of common use purely for prayer. If you look at it that way instead of seeing it simply as a funny Mormon culture archaicism, there’s something about it possibly bridging the gap and making our prayers that much more personal in it. At least, so it is for me.

  18. Kristine on April 2, 2004 at 3:35 pm

    Steve, I don’t know why the church hangs onto them in English. It doesn’t make sense to pray in an archaic form which we have mistakenly defined as formal in one language, while the majority of church members who pray in other languages use the familiar. I frankly don’t get our attachment to thee and thou (although I *like* it much better than the ultra-familiar “we just ask you, Lord…” of my hometown!).

  19. clarkgoble on April 2, 2004 at 3:36 pm

    I think that originally it was supposed to be giving *thanks* for our food rather than necessarily blessing or dedicating it. I try to do that in my prayers and to thank those who cooked it. As someone else pointed out, stopping to invoke the Lord in even our mundane activities is always a good thing. I think we remember God in the pressing things but not in the mundane things. Yet I think remembering him there will help us more in the long run.

    I also think that in the blessing we can try and orient it. i.e. bless the food *to* do something. But more in general it is just an opportunity to pray together and I don’t typically focus on the food. It is more a kind of family prayer. It makes up for those times when you fall asleep prior to family prayer.

  20. Russell Arben Fox on April 2, 2004 at 3:43 pm

    For what it’s worth, I dropped “thee” and “thou” and all the rest out of my prayers soon after I came home from my mission. I use “you” all the time, whether in private prayers or in public (including when I blessed our babies). I’ve yet to have any priesthood leader pull rank on me about it; perhaps that indicates that most members don’t care or would prefer to drop the archaic language as well. Then again, perhaps that merely indicates that most people don’t listen too closely to public prayers.

  21. Steve Evans on April 2, 2004 at 3:49 pm

    I have seen a low-level G.A. completely humiliate a newly-baptized, non-English speaking member of the Church in a Stake Conference over the thee/thou thing. It was embarrassing and awful to watch. I use thee/thou, but do so with everyone as a matter of common speech.

    Kristine, I really appreciated thy comment above. Russell, thou art on the fringe regarding thine usage.

  22. Melissa on April 2, 2004 at 4:13 pm

    I thought about this issue in the Temple a few months back. Has anyone else ever noticed that in Temple cafeterias there are often little notices on each table that say “this food was blessed earlier today.” I am frankly puzzled by this announcement on Temple tables. What message are we supposed to glean? That we don’t have to pray over the food because it has already been “blessed”? I think my puzzlement stemmed from the fact that I don’t think of praying before meals as cleansing the food of poisonous substances or something–and thus, once done, the food can be pronounced clean in some official manner. Prayer before meals (as Jim and Clark have mentioned) has always been an act of grateful recognition of the One by whom I am sustained. At home growing up prayers before meals always included a sincere recognition of “those that are hungry this hour” and a prayer that “their stomachs would be filled.” Although these expressions as times took on a sort of rote quality much like “nourishandstrengthenourbodies” can (or has?), I remember those prayers from my childhood very distinctly–I was often aware during Sunday dinner especially that there were those who suffered hunger even as we partook of a veritable feast. I think these and subsequent prayers over meals have helped me remember my daily dependence on God’s good gifts. Once in a while my Dad would remind us that the fact that something had to die for us to live was a reminder of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. My brothers regularly rolled their eyes as teenagers at this very solemn pronouncement before a meal–but I don’t think they’ve ever forgotten it.

    This post is not to suggest that this is the way meal prayers should be, but just to suggest that praying before meals can be meaningful

  23. cooper on April 2, 2004 at 4:17 pm

    Jim F – finally got back to this. Blessing the food….hmmm now as i think about it…. I don’t know. It’s just something we do. Kind of like tithing settlement I guess. We do it, but do we really need to? We are grateful. Maybe that’s where the emphasis should be. Unless of course you eat at a few people’s houses I know. Just needs to blessed if it came from that kitchen. (not being snarky, she’s just very old and suffers from dimentia.) Okay this post goes down as random thought on paper post.

  24. Kaimi on April 2, 2004 at 4:19 pm

    I have wondered about the pre-blessed food myself — it doesn’t seem to make much sense. I suspect that the temple (where everyone is as ostentatious in their piety as possible) may have had to institute this rule because people were giving 30-minute blessings to their lunch (“and thank you for my first-grade teacher, who taught me how to add . . .”) and tying up the tables.

  25. cooper on April 2, 2004 at 4:20 pm

    Oh Melissa. That was very helpful. I think the possiblitlity of blessing it to “fill the bellies” does fit. Sometimes food can be rather scarce (not in most american homes) and the fact that you would bless it to fill a hungry stomach would be appropriate.

  26. Kaimi on April 2, 2004 at 4:21 pm

    And why don’t they pre-bless more food? At least, in places where most or all consumers are likely to be LDS. Why didn’t we pre-bless food at mission zone conferences? Do they pre-bless at BYU?

  27. Thom on April 2, 2004 at 4:43 pm

    Gosh, I had no idea that some members speak languages in which a more familiar form of address is used. My bad. Thai has a very rigid heirarchical structure for use with those higher in station than oneself, and so missionaries learn to pray using the highest, most royal form possible, even though we would never address anyone we ever met that way, unless maybe we ran into the King or Queen of Thailand. Even in that case, the whole royal family speaks flawless English and would insist we speak English to them. Because I was taught to pray in Thai in this very formal way, and spent two years teaching people to pray that way, it only reinforced my conservative notion that we all pray pretty formally in the church. Prayers in General Conference lend some credence to this view I think, but hey! Those prayers get translaed into languages that use a less formal approach, so what do I know?

    As for Russell, perhaps your Priesthood higher-ups are simply too polite to suggest you formalize your prayers and blessings. Maybe they are afraid you might open a can of Mormon intellectual whoopa** on them, and they just don’t want to go through that unneccesarily. Just a punchy, end of the work-day thought, no offense intended.

  28. Thom on April 2, 2004 at 4:47 pm

    I remember hearing that the food was pre-blessed in the MTC. I think someone actually said to me one day “It comes pre-blessed.” I always thought that was odd.

  29. Thom on April 2, 2004 at 4:51 pm

    The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to agree with Kaimi, that it is probably used as a tool to keep people who are trying to feel hyper-spiritual (folks in the temple, MTC, etc), and who therefore might take the blessing of the food thing too far for too long, from taking up more time at the tables than neccessary. On some strange level, that makes sense to me. I can imagine just such an idea coming out of the mind of some of the folks who run church cafeterias.

  30. Kaimi on April 2, 2004 at 4:55 pm

    In Spanish, the general rule is to use the “tu” form, which is the more familiar.

    That reminds me of a funny story. (Which may not be that funny if you don’t know a little Spanish). First, in Guatemala, the people still use the familiar “vos” form as well (singular vos, not the plural “vosotros”). (There’s a lengthy background story about tu, vos, and usted which is actually interesting, but which I’ll omit).

    The more formal is Usted. So, in Guatemala, there are three second-person forms — Usted (formal), tu (a sort of intimate informal – you use it for your family), and vos (a sort of coarse informal, use with friends, acquaintances, etc).

    However, the plural is always “Ustedes” — they don’t use the tu plural (vosotros). The Bible uses tu throughout, and the plural form vosotros as well. This is highly confusing to poorly educated Guatemalans, who call their friends “vos” and who see the Bible use “vosotros” to address groups. Many of them don’t realize that vosotros is a group thing at all — they think it’s a funny, formal way to say vos.

    So, the funny story is this — I sat through a lengthy prayer, where the member was clearly trying to impress people with his sophistication. He continually refered to God as vosotros (you-plural). He was very nervous, though, and also used vos a few times, and tu, and Usted. The end result was a prayer addressing God in four forms, one of which was plural. I’m pretty sure a few listeners were biting their tongues.

  31. Grasshopper on April 2, 2004 at 5:14 pm

    Maybe another advantage to prayer using “you” instead of “thee” is that it’s so nicely ambiguous as to whether it’s singular or plural…

  32. Kristine on April 2, 2004 at 5:35 pm

    Thom, do you know if everybody uses honorifics in prayer in Thailand? That is, is LDS usage in keeping with local custom?

  33. Mardell on April 2, 2004 at 6:19 pm

    I our house the kids have elected Indigo the food blesser. She is not quite two so I still have to help her. Here is how it goes…
    Mom:Dear heavenly Father
    Indigo: Dada
    Mom: Thank you for the food.
    Indigo: food
    Mom: Please bless it.
    Indigo: bess
    Mom: In the name of Jesus Christ
    Indigo: AMEN!! (yelled with great excitment)
    I sometimes wonder if it is a little to simple, but, Indigo will not eat until she gets to say the blessing. Sometimes we have two blessings but most of the time Indigo just says it.

    I wonder if the blessing is not so much to bless the food, but to remind us who gave it to us and how he cares about everything in our lives even the food we eat.

  34. Ivan Wolfe on April 2, 2004 at 9:18 pm

    I was at a church activity recently where the person asked to say the prayer over the refreshments actually said “bless the food so that it won’t make us too fat.”

  35. Ivan Wolfe on April 2, 2004 at 9:22 pm

    Oh – and Thom – I speak Lao, which is related to Thai, and yes – there we use the most formal language possible as well.

    I recall an argument I got into with a Spanish speaker who said thay since in Spanish they use the familiar address, that was the only true way to address God and that using semi-fomalized language in English was an insult to Diety.

    I told her about the pronouns in Lao and how trying to use familiar language with God would be tantamount to speaking gibberish and she replied that the Lao people must not know God very well.

  36. Ben Huff on April 3, 2004 at 1:50 am

    Hey!! What’s this about temple folk being ostentatious about their spirituality? I have been to the Provo temple in jeans (once at least), with hippie-long hair and a beard (many times), and never even got a funny look.

    Contemporary confusion about the in/formality notwithstanding, I like the “thee” and “thou” in English!
    If you look at it as simply using scriptural language, it is consistent with what is done in Europe.
    I think it’s nice to have special pronouns to express intimacy, and a good idea to use them with God. And to hang onto some segment of our spoken language in which we keep alive the words our scriptures use, if only as a form of “cross-training”!

    But I can’t stand it when LDS say “thy Son” as though it meant “God’s son” even when you’re saying it to someone else! That alone makes me want to ditch it.

  37. Bob Caswell on April 3, 2004 at 2:18 am

    “Maybe another advantage to prayer using “you” instead of “thee” is that it’s so nicely ambiguous as to whether it’s singular or plural…”

    Grasshopper, as usual, nicely said. My turn to throw in my two cents based on the second language I speak:

    In Bulgarian, we use “ti” instead of “vie” because it is singular and informal. If we were to try and teach Bulgarians using the plural and/or formal “vie”, bad news… So, we’re praying to many Gods that we don’t know very well? Not a good message to convey. But in English, who the heck cares? This conversation is the most concentrated focus I’ve seen on this topic in my whole lifetime. I really think the majority of Mormons (in the U.S.) don’t know and/or don’t care.

  38. Dill on April 3, 2004 at 11:48 am

    We’ve quite “blessing” the food at our house, though we express gratitude for it.

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the probable origin of offering a food-related prayer- scriptural precedent, such as Matthew 26:26.
    “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it.”

    Apparently, Jews offer a prayer of thanks after the meal. So does Alma in the BoM, Alma 8:22, “And it came to pass that Alma ate bread and was filled; and he blessed Amulek and his house, and he gave thanks unto God.” Some interesting references here.

    http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?id=155&table=jbms

    I don’t like the old pronouns either, but I also don’t like to rock the boat. Consequently, I don’t refer to God much in my public prayers. “We are grateful for” instead of “We thank thee…”
    “…which we have received” instead of “…which thou hast given us.”

  39. Cath on April 3, 2004 at 9:20 pm

    My husband and I pray together in German and I usually say my personal prayers in Polish (both of which use the intimate form of you in prayers), so I haven’t worried much about thee/thou/thy for a while. However, it makes sense to keep using them – not because they’re archaic, but because they are “special”. When I use them in prayer, it reminds me that I’m talking to the supernal God the Eternal Father. Our language (English) has lost almost all respect markers over the centuries, and sometimes it seems in America, we have lost respect for almost everything and everyone. I need reminders that Heavenly Father isn’t just “my bud down the street”.
    That said, if I eat a meal without saying a short prayer of gratitude first, I feel like an ingrate who is not “always remembering” the goodness of God. Regarding the “blessing” part – I live in the Philippines right now. Before coming here, I had to get Hep A & Hep B vaccines. I hear stories about missionaries drinking the local water and being knocked out for days afterward. In at least one mission here, the missionaries are not allowed to eat meals at peoples’ houses. There’s some serious hygiene (even the women don’t seem to wash their hands after using the toilet) and disease problems here, and no matter where I eat, I WILL ask (quite fervently sometimes) that the food bless me rather than harm me.

  40. Nephi on April 5, 2004 at 4:17 am

    Is thee/thy/thou/thine really technically informal? That doesn’t make much sense to me. English pronouns come almost unchanged from the German, which use Sie/Seinen (sound like thee/thine) for the formal, but du (sounds like you) for the familiar. So which is it?

  41. VeritasLiberat on April 5, 2004 at 5:54 am

    Yes, “thou” is second person familiar. For more details, see this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou
    A lot of words that are spelled with a “d” in German are spelled with a “th” or “t” in English, and vice versa. I forget when this shift happened.

    Now, as regards the German “Sie” meaning formal “you,” it evidently was derived from the third person plural. I’m not sure why: maybe something happened similar to the formation of “usted” in Spanish.

    Another interesting link:
    http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa020998.htm

  42. VeritasLiberat on April 5, 2004 at 6:09 am

    And Old High German doesn’t seem to have had a formal/informal distinction for “you”; there are just singular and plural forms, which are similar to the informal singular/plural forms in modern German.
    http://mysite.freeserve.com/Marmaria/ohg/ohg_primer_11.htm

  43. Daniel Heywood on May 11, 2004 at 11:51 pm

    I found an article by Dallin H Oaks titled “The Language of Prayer.” (Using lds.org, clicking on the “search” link, and typing “how to pray”) It addresses all of the questions and comments about pronouns discussed above.

    The article can also be found here:

    http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1993.htm/ensign%20may%201993.htm/the%20language%20of%20prayer.htm?f=templates$fn=document-frameset.htm$q=pronoun$x=Simple#LPHit1

  44. Daniel Heywood on May 11, 2004 at 11:52 pm

    I found an article by Dallin H Oaks titled “The Language of Prayer.” (Using lds.org, clicking on the “search” link, and typing “how to pray”) It addresses all of the questions and comments about pronouns discussed above.

    The article can also be found here:

    http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1993.htm/ensign%20may%201993.htm/the%20language%20of%20prayer.htm?f=templates$fn=document-frameset.htm$q=pronoun$x=Simple#LPHit1

  45. Rissa Rose on June 7, 2004 at 1:37 am

    I have been reading some of the posts on prayer over food. First, we thank God for our food. Then we ask that He bless it so that it will be safe for us to eat.
    I was just watching a show on Animal Planet about travelers’ encounters with parasites. These parasites enter the body from dirty or insufficiently cooked foods you eat and some of them can kill you. Some are worms that live in your intestines and some can even be parasites that actually live in your brain and slowly kill you.
    So, I would say it would be wise to not only thank God for your bounty, but also ask him to kill anything in it that could be harmful to the body before you eat it.
    Thanks
    Rissa Rose

  46. Rissa Rose on June 7, 2004 at 1:54 am

    Concerning the use of the words thee, thou, thine, wast, and words ending in eth. ie loveth, etc.
    The King James bible was translated by…of course…King James. These words were the mode of that day. That’s the way they spoke at that time.
    It always annoys me to hear people use these words when they pray. They don’t use them at any other time. It’s not necessary. We don’t speak that way now. Jesus didn’t use these words, King James did.
    I’m sure if you could read the bible in it’s original Greek and Hebrew, (or was it Aramaic or Arabic?) you would not find these words.
    Rissa Rose

  47. Aryour on July 31, 2004 at 5:57 am

    We had a bible study in my church some weeks back where the pastor and other members said it was wrong to say “bless this food in Jesus name” that it’s not the food that should be blessed but God, so it should be “God I bless your name for providing this food”. Now that was hard on me because I grew up to bless the food and also thank God, and I had actually taught little kids to bless the food.

    I did a research about it in the only place you can find all answers to your questions (the Bible)

    In 1 Samuel 9:13b, we were told about Samuel that “The guests won’t start until he arrives to bless the food.” and in the New testament Jesus did ask God to bless food Matt 14:19, so it is right to bless food and to bless God for His faithfulness in providing (Thanksgiving). The bible say in all things we should give thanks.

    On the issue of repeating being vain repeations, this depends on the individual, if you really mean what you are saying and not necessarily how many times you say it. I repeat “I love you” to my wife several times and really mean it- that doesn’t amke it vain. Also when you thank God, today, thank Him tomorrow, thank Him the day after that, because you keep thanking Him does not make it vain, it only become vain when you don’t think of what you are saying and it just becomes an incantation, which is what the Jesus was talking about in Matt 6:7 “they think they would be heard for thier many words” many words in a prayer.

  48. l on August 11, 2004 at 11:48 pm

    I am looking for a dinner prayer. I am not a religious person so please help me. I know the wording includes bless this food and grant us the virtues of patience, tenacity and wisdom.

    Please email me!

    Thank you

  49. Jeremy's Jeremiad! on April 2, 2004 at 2:21 pm

    Thou Shalt Bless Thy Food!
    I found this post at Times and Seasons and left a comment there. I’ve thought about this topic quite a few times and discussed it with my wife. She’s usually nice enough not to roll her eyes at me when…

  50. john on September 10, 2004 at 11:32 am

    Dinner prayer and not religious? It seems like asking to help celebrate Chistmas or Easter and yet not subscribing to Christ. Christmas and Easter are not a celebration of a vacation or days off of work, they are a recognition and a sharing of joy for the life and teachings of Christ and the understanding of his death.

    A blessing of the food is to share in the goodness of Gods bounty and using words to reflect on that. Words offered in acknowledgement of Gods grace in our life, what is important is we are taking a role with our life to reflect our beliefs to Gods presence.

    if you are not religious why “bless your food at all” why acknowledge God. If you want to acknowledge the gifts of what you have, that is wonderful and you should do just that. Reflect on what dinner and that family time means to you and you will have all the words you need to communicate that to yourself and the people with you.

    a blessing of food comes from within. the ritual of the words has value for “the family” as to Gods presence in your family structure. the actual words of thou or thee or hey you up there, are a discussion more to what do these words reflect inside yourself?…what will they reflect inside of the people who hear them?…

    a blessing is an acknowledgement of God as he is a part of your life, his gifts of life, food, family and friends. In essence we were blessed when heaven and earth were created. From when each of us were born it is a matter more of our acknowledgement of that and our role in it.

    words should be heartfelt beliefs, just look inside yourself the words are alredy there.

    just my thoughts…john