You have probably heard a variety of prayers before meals in your lifetime: ‘Two four six eight, dig in don’t wait!’ and ‘Grace!’ among them. I always give thanks, but sometimes it is a silent action. I don‘t need to make a spectacle of myself.
An acquaintance of mine, Iain Radvan, recently wrote, “Giving thanks before a meal can be one of the simplest and most heart-felt of prayers that an individual or group can say. It is not always spoken aloud – I believe that an unspoken ‘yummy’ or the appreciative sniff of an aroma is giving thanks to God and to the cook. Grace before meals can be extended to voicing thanks for other blessings that have come a person’s way during the day.”
“When I say ‘thank you’ before I eat, I am mindful not only of the cook, but, all in a second, of the Earth that provided the seed and soil, of the farmers who nurtured the plants, of the life and death of the animals, of the drivers who distributed the food and the shopkeepers who sold it. This meal and this prayer connects me to the whole Earth community. I feel humbled and truly grateful.”
So, that simple prayer might contain a wealth of ‘thanksgivings’, all offered in the blinking of an eye. Thank you Lord.
Like me you must have been so pleased to hear that the boys in Thailand trapped in a cave had been rescued. On Wednesday last the Herald Sun had the headline “World’s Prayers Answered.” Prayer was mentioned on the front page of a daily paper. I had also noticed that many a TV news presenter had also said something along the lines of the boys being in our thoughts and prayers. In the emergency that these boys faced many people turned to prayer.
The cynic in me might ask what people meant by prayer – wishful thinking, positive thoughts – which might well be prayer, but to whom are the prayers addressed?
Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney wrote recently, “Prayer in the presence of God is the appropriate response of those made in the image of God, who know they fall short of the glory of God, yet who rest upon his promise of forgiveness when they stand before their Maker.”
I am certainly one who dreams of futuristic outcomes, wishes to understand the present and reflects on times past. Prayer for me, however, is communication with the living God. As I commence I seek to put my relationship with God in a positive place, which I do by confessing my sin, and then I feel free to go on and discuss various things with God and make requests of him.
I prayed for the safe evacuation of the boys from the cave and then upon hearing that all were rescued we offered thanks to God and prayed for their future good health.
God is always ready to hear from us, but our fallen state means that we have to confess our failings to him, seek is forgiveness and then proceed with adoration, thanksgiving and requests.
Bless you as you pray.