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by Dan Williams
Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them... to the people... (Matthew 15:35-36)
When your family sits down to eat, does everyone immediately dig in and start gobbling food or do you pause to give thanks to God for the daily bread you have received?
Jesus teaches us by example the importance of praying before we eat. Such a practice reinforces our sense of gratitude for the blessings we have received; it consecrates our food by recognizing the goodness and holiness of Gods gifts; it brings the blessings of the Lord upon our family; and it invites Jesus to our supper table.
In far too many homes today, the sacredness of the supper table has been forgotten. Many American families no longer sit down together to eat, choosing instead to randomly graze like cattle through the kitchen at will, then plopping down in front of a blaring television.
Dennis Lowe, director of the Center for the Family at Pepperdine University, has called attention to a number of studies suggesting that when young people frequently eat dinner with their parents, they:
We have all heard the saying Families that pray together, stay together. It turns out that Families that dine together, are emotionally and spiritually fine together. Why would this be so?
When Jesus instituted the Communion, he took what was ordinarily a family-based rite, the observance of the Passover meal, and turned it into a celebration of fellowship for his disciples. In our modern culture, we need to reverse that process: the communion of fellow-Christians is a type of the shared life that ought to occur at the family table. (cf. Luke 24:28-35; Acts 2:42,46)
So turn off that television, slow down your fast food lifestyle, gather the family together at your table tonight and bow your heads to thank God for the meal before you. Dont know where to begin? Consistency and sincerity are far more important for a mealtime prayer than length or eloquence. Consider using the following petition to get started: Father, We thank you for every blessing we have received, and especially now for this food. Bless this meal, and bless this home. In Jesus name. Amen.
Author: Dan Williams
Publication Date: November 5, 2002
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