The purpose of saying grace before or after a meal is to express gratitude for the food you are about to receive - or finished eating - with a short blessing. In many religious traditions, it is customary to bless the food. For Christians, saying grace and sharing bread is a reminder of Jesus Christ’s Last Supper with the Apostles. We also commemorate this event at every Mass, during the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Learn how and why to say grace and discover a few examples of prayers to say before a meal.
Saying a quick prayer before a meal is a manner of showing gratitude to God for blessing us daily. It reminds us of all the riches of the earth the Lord offered us. When saying The Lord’s Prayer, we are asking God to “give us this day our daily bread”; grace prayers are a response to this verse of the ‘Our Father’.
We are thankful to Him not only for the food but also for the people who helped provide and prepare it, and for the people who are sharing it with us. It is an act of thanksgiving, of gratitude and charity: we also entrust people who cannot eat their fill to God.
When blessing a meal, we are inviting Jesus Christ to our table, so He may be at the heart of this moment of sharing. Since prayers of grace are simple and short forms of prayer, they can be a great introduction to family prayer for children.
There is no strict rule to follow to bless a meal! Prayers of grace can be recited or sung by just one person, or by everyone sharing the food. You begin and end the prayer by the sign of the cross. After thanking the Lord, you can entrust the people present, a moment of your day, or a special intention to God.
“Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.
nos et haec tua dona,
quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi.
Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
Discover other Latin Christian Prayers.
“Gracious Giver of all good,
We thank Thee for the rest and food.
Grant all we do and say,
Is in thy service today.”
"Some have meat and cannot eat,
And some cannot eat that want it;
But we have meat and we can eat
And so the Lord be thanked".
("Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit")