What is the grace before meal prayer?

Apart from being a prayer which almost everyone can remember, no matter how long it has been since they have said it before, Wikipedia’s definition is : grace is a short prayer or phrase said before or after eating!

So where did it come from?

Archaeologists have found cave drawings of people at mealtime with their hands uplifted, a sign of prayer, from about 5000 BC in PAGAN TIMES long before Christianity, when hygiene and knowledge of food was not what it is today. People mainly ate hand to mouth and food was not very readily available. People were much more appreciative when they did get food and much more thankful when they received it. People would pray to the “gods” or the spirits.

Theologist   Laurel Schneider, author of Polydoxy, said, “At a time before pasteurisation and refrigeration  blessings may have been part of a purification process (that we will not be poisoned) as well as a thank you to the “gods” or spirits for the food itself.

Even now, many pagans believe that not only should we thank “god” but also the Earth and the food itself. After all if you are eating plants or meat, something had to die for you to have that meal. It would be rude not to thank the food for its sacrifice.



Meals were a regular event in the Old Testament from Abraham feeding the 3 men that came to visit at Memre, killing a calf to feed them, to 2 of the Apostles inviting a stranger to eat with them only to discover it was Jesus.

The Jewish grace comes from Deuteronomy 8:10 ” and thou shall eat and be satisfied and shall bless the Lord thy God for the goodly land He has given them.

Islam have a similar grace.

Also Baha’i faith and Hinduism,

In Japan they say “humbly receive”

And in Korea they say “I will eat well”

Boy scouts in Missouri say “give thanks to the great spirit”

Mexican scouts say the “wilderness grace”

“For food, for raiment. for life

for friendship and fellowship

We thank you Lord.”

In America they celebrate the great Thanksgiving Day, a massive celebration in that country.



In Christian Theology Grace is derived from the Bible in which Jesus and St. Paul prayed before meals (Luke 24:30 and Acts 27:35). The practice reflects the belief that humans should thank God who is the origin of everything.


So why should we say grace?

  1. Because we should follow Jesus example. “I am the way the truth and the life.” (JOHN 14:6)
  2. It Unites families friends and groups.
  3. Because mealtime is to the domestic church (the home) what the Eucharist is to the parish Church. St Paul said by saying grace we all wait for one another instead of survival of the fittest.
  4. To observe this gift is to recognise the honour of our existence– and to leave behind all resentment over what we might lack.
  5. We believe that God is indeed always present.
  6. If we said grace at every meal we would connect with God and one another 1095 times every year more than those who do not. Not bad for something that takes mere seconds to say.
  7. Sometimes when we do not appreciate something enough it is taken away

Grace doesn’t have be be a solemn occasion. Firstly, you can have a game of who leads grace today? Mommy, Daddy or the children. Secondly which grace will we use today? There is a dice available that gives a different grace on each side. Children love playing dice. Frequently nowadays there are people of different beliefs present, choose one that “all” can aspire to.

Finally I leave you with some humorous versions and invite anyone who wants a grace before meal card to download it from the website at or request it.



1 Good food, good meat, good God, lets eat!

2 Rub a tub tub, thanks for the grub.

3 Lord bless this bunch as they eat their lunch.

4 Abcdefg Thank you God for feeding me.

5 Lazarus  rose, Moses led, Noah built and Jesus fed. AMEN.


Thank you once again,

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