Praying Like Jesus #5


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Jesus Prayed Before Meals

The Apostle Paul warned the Church that there would come a day when people would depart from the faith. Let’s read this text responsively:

1 Timothy 4:1-5 (KJV) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

What causes people to depart from the faith? The Holy Spirit said that first people would heed seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, rejecting the Word of God for the word of the fallen world. Hypocrisy will abound, and the conscience will be hardened and de-synthesized. Then God given appetites would be ignored, Yes, God gave you your appetite.

He gave you the appetite for marital companionship.
He gave you the appetite for food.
These appetites are to be fulfilled as God directs!

What causes the “departure from the faith” but the rejection of God’s Word and the rejection of God’s design. God designed us with appetites. He made our bodies. He gives us food to eat, and companions to live with in a union called “marriage”. But the devil has twisted this, minimizing marriage and establishing taboos on food items. How shall we “contend for” what Jude (in Jude 3) called “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”?

We need to emphasize PRAYER,
especially at our mealtimes.

(vvs 4-5) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, IF IT BE RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING: [5] For it is SANCTIFIED by the WORD OF GOD and PRAYER.

It amazes me that so few Christians pray over their meals before eating them. There was a show on television I saw once called Kitchen Nightmares. In that show Chef Gordon Ramsay would go into failing restaurants and demonstrate “behind the scenes” why that restaurant was failing. In many cases customers were eating at restaurants that were selling bug infested or rotted and tainted foods. When I saw that show it impressed upon me when I ate “out” to insure that I prayed over the meal.

The Apostle told us as Christians to pray over our meals because this “sanctifies” or “sets it apart for God’s glory”. We need to pray and thank God for our meals prior to eating … especially when we are eating in someone else’s kitchen.

There are times when we are in a hurry and skip prayer so that we can rush to another appointment. When that happens we need to remember the example of the Apostle Paul. Imprisoned and traveling against his will to meet the Caesar the ship that he was on was caught in a bad storm. For fourteen days those on board ate nothing at all. Finally on the fifteenth day at sunrise:

Acts 27:33-36 (KJV) And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. [34] Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. [35] And WHEN HE HAD THUS SPOKEN, HE TOOK BREAD, AND GAVE THANKS TO GOD IN PRESENCE OF THEM ALL: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. [36] Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.

Though all were hungry (for they had not eaten in 14 days) the Apostle “gave thanks” (the Greek εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō). He thanked the Father for that which he and the others were about to eat. He “said grace”!

Our Lord Jesus Always “Said Grace”

Most of us in America have never truly experienced hunger nor scarcity of food. We as a nation have been blessed. Pastor Jon Bloom of Desiring God Ministries calls this “The Dark Side of Abundance”. He writes:

Those of us who live in prosperous regions of the globe and have never known food scarcity perhaps don’t feel much awe in it. That is a sad thing: a lack of awe. It’s the dark side of abundance. We sinners tend to grow blind to glory when there’s a lot of it. God is kind not to give us heaven yet. We would not appreciate more than a fraction of it.”

In our country even the “poor” that I come in contact with are often overweight. The 21 poorest countries in the world are located on the continent of Africa. Other countries with great destitution are Afghanistan, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, and Haiti. Much of the illegal immigration in our country comes over the border from Mexico.

Our Lord Jesus confronted hunger. The Bible tells us that people had flocked to Him to hear Him teach. Jesus, like John the Baptist, often preached away the Temple and in the desert. As time for the evening meal was upon them the disciples told Jesus:

Mark 6:35-36 (KJV) And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: [36] Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.

Perhaps you think these men were heartless, but that wasn’t the case. They knew that they had an insufficient amount of food to feed five thousand men and an uncounted amount of women. So they did as we often do – they looked to the “practical” and not to faith. But Jesus had a better idea.

Jesus asked the disciples if they could find anything to eat, to give it to the people. The disciples found a child’s meal. “We have only five small loaves of bread, and two fishes” (verse 38). How could that many people be fed with no more than that? Jesus took the little meal and we read:

Mark 6:41-43 (KJV) And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, HE LOOKED UP TO HEAVEN, AND BLESSED, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. [42] And they did all eat, and were filled. [43] And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

Our Lord “blessed” (εὐλογέω eulogeō) the food. Earlier we saw that the Apostle Paul “gave thanks” (the Greek εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō) for what food they were about to eat. Now Jesus eulogeō or “praises God” for what He has, though it is but a small amount. Praising God for His provision released His power on the little until it became a lot!

God will feed His Children. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 37:25 (KJV) I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

and God told the Prophet Ezekiel 34:14-15 (KJV) I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

God cares for His Children. When we have little this should not stop our prayer. We should look to Him Who loves us. He will provide.

Following another three day revival meeting in the wilderness Jesus called His disciples to Him and said:

Mark 8:2-5 (KJV) I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. … How many loaves have ye? …. And they said, Seven.

There were four thousand to be fed, but an insufficient amount of food. Again, Jesus did not complain.. What did He do?

Mark 8:6 (KJV) … He commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and He took the seven loaves, and GAVE THANKS, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

The Bible uses the same word that the Apostle used on the storm tossed ship. Jesus εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō thanking God for what he had. The Father responded and gave an increase until all could be fed. Our God is in control of every situation that we encounter. When we come to the lean times we need to thank Him for that – and our Father will give us the increase!

Jesus taught us to rely not on the situation, but on the Father. Jesus praised God (EULOGEO) and thanked God (EUCHARISTO) for what God had given, and trusted the Father to supply that which was lacking.

Jesus Taught Prayer At The Lord’s Table

Just before our Lord was to go to the Cross Jesus celebrated the Passover Meal with His disciples (Luke 22:7-8). As the meal progressed Jesus told His disciples:

Luke 22:15 (KJV) … With desire I have desired to eat THIS PASSOVER with you before I suffer:

Jesus took the Cup of the Passover meal and gave it to His disciples. Notice the text:

Luke 22:17 (KJV) And he took the cup, and GAVE THANKS, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

Jesus εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō “said Grace” or thanked the Father for the Cup. But following this ending of the Passover Jesus once more takes Bread and uses the Bread to illustrate His sacrifice for us. We read:

Mark 14:22-24 (KJV) And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

Jesus “blessed” the bread (εὐλογέω eulogeō) “praised God” for the bread which represented His Body. Then Jesus took the Cup once more and “gave thanks” (εὐχαριστέω eucharisteō) for the Bread which represented His poured out Blood. The Bible tells us that Jesus both PRAISED GOD and THANKED GOD for the Cross that was on the horizon. Jesus prayed over this simple meal. Every time we practice the Lord’s Supper we remind ourselves that Jesus said grace before every meal – even this one!

On The Road To Emmaus

Following His crucifixion and resurrection the Lord Jesus walked on the Road to Emmaus with the disciple Cleopas and his wife. As Jesus walked with these grieving disciples they lamented over the crucifixion of Jesus, not knowing that they were speaking with the resurrected Savior. Jesus rebuked their tears, saying:

Luke 24:25-27 (KJV) …. O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Still, Cleopas and his wife didn’t realize this was the resurrected Jesus. It was only as they came to their house in Emmaus that they invited Jesus to eat with them. Normally the master of the household said prayers over the meal. Yet we read that …

Luke 24:30-34 (KJV) And it came to pass, as {Jesus} sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it (εὐλογέω eulogeō), and brake, and gave to them. And THEIR EYES WERE OPENED, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

Just as Jesus praised God the Father for the Bread at the Lord’s Table, He praised God for the bread at this Emmaus household. This is what opened their eyes to see Jesus. Listen Beloved, if we were to pray and thank God for our meals at home our children would see Jesus. If we were to pray and thank God for our meals while eating out, others around us would see Jesus.

As Christians we are to have thankful hearts for what God our Father has blessed us with. The Bible says:

Colossians 3:17 (KJV) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

IA little girl had eaten all of her meal but the turnips. She hated turnips! At the beginning of the meal she pushed them out of the way, and cleaned her plate except for those turnips. She sat there looking sadly at the now cold pile of vegetables. Her momma said, “Honey, you should have eaten those first. Now they are cold and the grease is congealed on top of them.” The little girl looked up and said, “I know momma. I guess I was just trying to delay the inedible.”

We may not always get exactly what we want in life. Let us nevertheless praise God for what He has given us – especially over our meals. It was prayer that turned the Roman Empire upside down, ushering in the faith of Christ. Adrian Rogers said:

“In ancient Rome Christians were taken into the Coliseum and put to death before laughing, mocking mobs. But underneath the Coliseum were catacombs—passageways where believers worshiped Jesus and prayed. … they ignited a spiritual revolution that turned the Empire upside down. Comparing coliseums and catacombs, I want to be in the catacomb crowd.”

The Christians of the catacomb overturned the citizen of the coliseum because those Christians cultivated praise and thankfulness to God. Mealtime is a wonderful time to do this. We can bring the light of Christ to a needy world by simply praying over our meals … especially at restaurants. This is one way that we can …

Romans 12:21 (KJV) … Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

God wants us to cultivate a praise filled and thankful heart before Him. We should thank God for our food, reminding ourselves that it was provided by the Lord Who loves us.

Praising and thanking God for our food reminds us and those around us that it is God Who has given us our blessings – even this meal. God told His Old Testament Church:

Deuteronomy 8:15-16 (KJV) Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; [16] Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;

It is God Who provides that which we need. We are the beneficiaries of good things because God loves us. God has blessed us with the ABILITY as well as the RESOURCES we have.

Final Thoughts On Mealtime Prayer

Jesus said:

Mark 8:38 (KJV) Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Someone once said that praying before a meal would offend their non-believing friends. It probably will. So what? Let them be offended. Jesus said:

John 15:18-20 (KJV) If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Will you offend? Maybe. Maybe not. Who cares? Live for the smile of Christ our Lord, not for the applause of man.

A few final points on mealtime prayers.

a Pray, but don’t preach. Be brief and to the point. Thank God and praise Him for the food you are about to receive.

b Be sincere. Talk to the Lord conversationally like you would if He were standing in front of you (and He is, by the way). As much as I love the King James text, know that the Lord doesn’t require us to speak King James English when we pray!

c Be a witness, but don’t be a show off. When Jesus prayed He gave thanks or praised God. He never preached a sermon over a meal.

d If our waiter or waitress is near the table I ask if I can include them in the prayer. You would be surprised how many waitresses and waiters have been thankful to be included in those prayers. You would also be surprised how many waiters and waitresses will stay with us while we pray over the meal and for them. Many of the studies done by Lifeway on the Millennial Generation note that they are not unspiritual … they just don’t like hypocrisy. Be the Christian God made you to be. Tell your Father you are grateful for the food and for the person who made it and delivered it to your table.

e When you pray in a restaurant remember to leave a proper tip. It has been said that the smallest tips are left by people who professed to be Christians. Don’t be a positive witness through your prayers and then a negative witness through your tipping. And don’t use those fake tracts that look like money as tips. Leave a fair tip, honoring Christ and blessing your server.

May God touch your hearts as you grow in Him!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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