Saying Grace

A grace is a short prayer or thankful phrase said before or after eating. The term most commonly refers to Christian traditions. Some traditions hold that grace and thanksgiving impart a blessing which sanctifies the meal. In English, reciting such a prayer is sometimes referred to as “saying grace”. The term comes from the Ecclesiastical Latin phrase gratiarum actio, “act of thanks”. Theologically, the act of saying grace is derived from the Bible, where Jesus and Saint Paul pray before meals (Luke 24:30, Acts 27:35). The practice reflects the belief that humans should thank God who is the origin of everything.

Luther’s Blessing and Thanks at Meals (before eating)

“The eyes of all wait upon Thee, O Lord, and thou givest them their meat in due season; thou openest thine hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing. Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these thy gifts which we receive from thy bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

Or, alternatively

“Lord, all living things look to you for food, and you give it to them at the right time. You open your hand, and you satisfy all living things. Lord, God, Father in heaven, bless us and bless this food which you have given us out of your kindness through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Luther’s Blessing and Thanks at Meals (after eating)

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. (commonly ends here) He gives food to every creature; he provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of a horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man. The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. We thank You, Lord God Heavenly Father, for all your benefits, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.”

Or, alternatively

“We thank you, Lord. You are good to us, and your love lasts forever. Thank you, Father in heaven, for all the good things you have given us, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and rules forever. Amen.”

Common table prayer (before eating)

“Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest, and let this food to us be blessed. Amen.” (Or can be added) “And may there be a goodly share on every table everywhere. Amen.”

Other mealtime prayers:

“Be present at our table Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may feast in fellowship with thee. Amen.” (traditional)

“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful/grateful. Amen.”

“Bless, O Father, thy/your gifts to our use and us to thy/your service; for Christ’s sake. Amen.”

“Our Father, for this day, for our friends, for this food, we thank you. Amen.”

“God is great, and God is good, let us thank him for our food; by his blessings we are fed, give us Lord, our daily bread. Amen.”

After meals:

“Blessed God, in thee/you we live, move and have our being; make us thankful for thy/your mercies; and as we live by thy/your providence, help us to live to thy/your praise looking and waiting for a better life with thyself/you above, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

“We thank thee/you, Lord, for this our food, but more because of Jesus’ blood. Let manna to our souls be given, the Bread of Life, sent down from heaven. Amen.”

“For food in a world where many walk in hunger; for faith in a world where many walk in fear; for friends in a world where many walk alone; we give you thanks, O Lord. Amen.”

Main Picture: File:Fritz von Uhde – Das Tischgebet – Created: 1885

About the Author

Grace Bock

Grace has a passion for Lutheran Women of Australia, having served as President and Editor of Lutheran Women. She is a member at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide SA and is part of the Editorial Team.

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