Needless to say, I am not in the habit of thanking God for my meals before I eat. (I remember the first time I encountered this concept as a child, when I was at a friend’s house for dinner. The mother asked me to say grace. Everyone was staring at me. I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t think of a good way to fake my own death to get out of it so I just literally said, “Grace?” They thought I was mocking them. Train wreck.) Anyhoo…
I’ve found it difficult to get into the habit of saying a prayer before meals. This is one Christian cultural tradition that doesn’t totally resonate with me, which is surprising since it seems to resonate with everyone else. Of course I am grateful for the incredible abundance of food in our society. And I know that I need food in order to live; but I also need water and shelter. I don’t feel any more or less compelled to pray before eating than before drinking water, walking into my house, etc.
I am definitely missing something here, I just can’t put my finger on what it is. Why is it so firmly embedded in Christian culture to pray before eating but not before receiving other life-sustaining gifts?