Mealtime prayer is a common time to pause and reflect on the blessings God has bestowed upon us, our families and loved ones. Throughout my childhood, prayer before meals was a habit on the rare occasion that we were all able to gather around the table. Visiting the homes of other families I was surprised at the variety of mealtime prayers, many of them repeated verbatim at each meal. I can still recall the prayer around one table expressing thanks in these words, “Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.” As an adult my meal time prayers, which always end with the same few phrases of “Bless this food, the hands that prepared it, the people who do not have it, and the land that produced it,” are repetitive, which challenges me to consider if I am praying intentionally, or whether I have come to take the meaning of these words for granted. The fact that we pray acknowledges our thankful hearts, but do we fully grasp all of the work, toil and the sacrifice of the land to put food on our tables? Meal time prayer is important because it is a time to recognize our humanity, God’s sovereignty, and our relationship to the earth...
Hoover, Brandon, "Sacred Sovereignty: Inheriting The Land Through Meal Time Prayer. Shalom: A Journal For The Practice Of Reconciliation" (2009). Sociology Educator Scholarship. 25.