The origin of praying for a meal has ties to the Old Testament and New Testament. In the days of Israel, cup bearers were similar to modern day secret service agents. Instead of serving as an armed guard, these men tested the food and wine for poisons. If no one died, this meal was safe for the king to enjoy. One of the most famous cup bearers is Nehemiah, who God used as a vessel to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. In the first century, the apostles gave thanks for each meal the Lord provided. While the passage below does not detail the words spoken, praying before eating was a form of thanksgiving.
Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, and he broke it and began to eat, Acts 27:35.
Today, Christians continue this practice, folding their hands, closing their eyes and either silently or verbally expressing thanks to God for daily bread. Just as Moses gave thanks for manna from heaven and quail via God, saying grace is an act of appreciation for the little things in life. Unfortunately, praying at lunch has made national news recently for the wrong reason. Brigadier General John Teichert who has a blog encouraging individuals to pray at lunchtime for the United States is being threatened by a lawsuit. Attorney Michael Weinstein who trolls Christians on military bases recently said, “General Teichert should be doing time behind prison bars, not commanding a Wing wearing a general’s stars,”
Then all of them were encouraged and their spirits improved, and they also ate some food, Acts 27:36.
Luke provides the benefits of praying before a meal in the passage above. Based upon the words used by Luke, saying grace can be moving as people pour out their hearts to God. This specific prayer encouraged everyone in attendance as well as uplifting their spirits. If public prayer for a meal could have this impact on a group of people, why is this attorney be so upset? If prayer can inspire souls to act, what’s the big deal? How is prayer hurting military bases and the men and women who serve this country? Perhaps, if atheists, critics and skeptics begin to pray, this world would become a better place. May the readers of this blog keep General Teichert in your prayers so that the power of prayer will continue to thrive in this country and throughout the world.
by Jay Mankus