I don’t know about you, but I find it way too easy to forget God during the day… even as a pastor. Sometimes when I get to the office in the morning, I hit the ground running, doing God’s work to the neglect of God for much of the day. There are days when I’m getting into bed at night and I realize that I have not spoken a word to God other than the quick, perfunctory prayers I pray before meals. This got me thinking: what mile markers can I put throughout my day that I can use as reminders to meet with God and remember him in the midst of the chaotic busyness of our world? Well, for starters, I’ve already got some in place that I’m not using to their fullest capacity – those routine prayers I pray before meals. If I will make those prayers intentional and sincere instead of rehearsed and mindless, then they can become occasions for me to lift my heart to God in praise while pleading my need for his grace.
This may be an exercise you could stand to benefit from as well. I’m not saying that you have to pray for ten minutes while your food is sitting in front of you getting cold, but I think it is reasonable to maximize the 60 seconds that precede your first bite with some focused prayer.
Here’s one way I suggest you do this: pray in light of the similarity your meal shares with the gospel. What do I mean? Every meal is a provision from God for our need to eat. When God gives us a meal he is providing us with the sustenance and nourishment we need to live in the immediate future. On a much larger scale, when God sent Jesus to die in our place, he provided us with the sacrifice that was necessary for us to live eternally. Our food and our Savior are both provisions of God for our needs. The provision of our food says that God loves us and cares for our bodies as a father who works to put bread on the table for his children. The provision of our Savior says that God loves us and cares for our souls as a father who gives everything for his children to be set free. This parallel can help to expand your thankfulness in prayer and give you the confidence you need to ask God for more than just your daily bread. Church, let’s use our mealtime prayers to move our hearts and minds beyond the temporal provision of food to the eternal provision of Jesus.