Ever since I can remember, a prayer or grace was said before our family meals. My parents taught my siblings and me the Lutheran prayer, which is; “Come Lord Jesus be our guest, let these gifts to us be blessed.” I never really thought about why we say a prayer before eating other than to give thanks for the food. Since I wasn’t an inquisitive child, I don’t remember asking any questions about prayer. Saying grace was a ritual and as I look back, I believe many times praying before a meal was by habit as well as going through the motion without thinking about what I was saying, truly believing and feeling it. I have come to understand life is just that for most people, habits and going through the motions, I know it was for me.
As an adult I’ve experienced hearing different prayers before meals. My husband, Jeff was raised Catholic and his family said the Catholic ritual prayer before every meal like the Lutherans. Those who practice the Catholic faith, make the sign of the cross after prayer. Although we raised our children in the Catholic faith, we said the Lutheran prayer before our meals and added the sign of the cross at the end.
While raising our children, we had friends of the Baptist faith. I noticed when we had meals together our friends said whatever came to mind when praying before their meals. This was new to me. I liked what I heard, you could say what was on your mind and anytime our friends of the Baptist faith said their prayer, the prayer flowed and seems to have grace. I can remember thinking; I’m not sure if I could do that, perhaps I would stumble with my words and my prayer wouldn’t come out right, not flow or someone would make fun of me for making a mistake. I have learned I am judging myself by believing this way. The judgment started by me judging myself for believing I said something wrong at some point in my life and I am working to free myself from judgments I’ve carried over the years.
Many years ago my husband, our children (I think around the age of 8 and 10) and I went over to a family’s house for dinner. Our two families were intertwined around the kitchen table holding hands, looking at the beautiful spread of food before us and eagerly waiting for someone to say grace. The family we were having dinner with is of the Baptist faith. This might have been our daughter’s first experience in recognizing people praying differently as well as her being present during the prayer of blessing the food. I’d like to explain what I mean by her being present. I’ve learned just because we happen to be somewhere doesn’t mean we are present. Our daughter was present because she was listening to the prayer; her mind was free of other words or chatter. When the father finished the prayer, our daughter caught everyone off guard and began clapping. We all looked at each other with smiles and laughter. The father appeared humbly grateful. I’ll never forget this experience and have shared the story several times. As I am learning you can take all your experiences and reflect on them and learn much that you may not have known and or received at the time. What a gift one can give one self!
Saying grace or prayer before a meal has more meaning for me now than ever. A particular person has helped me understand much more about praying before I eat. I would like to pass along what I have learned. I’ve come to understand, when you receive a gift, share the gift. When we pray over our food, we are giving thanks for the food, asking for nourishment for our bodies and giving thanks for the person or persons who prepared the food. Another very important thing I have learned by praying over my food is to release any negative energy that could be on the food. Everything is energy and there is nothing that is not. There is energy we physically see and energy we cannot see such as sound, wind and feelings. The energy we cannot see is constantly moving all around us. There is no empty space. This might be a new concept for some to hear or perhaps you never thought about it. I know this was for me a few years back.
If everything is energy, then our food we put in our bodies is energy regardless if the food is cooked or raw. There are different frequencies of energy. I believe that raw fruits and vegetables have a higher frequency than overly processed cooked food. I believe when you pick your fruit or vegetable right off the plant and consume it, a higher frequency of nutrition is in that fruit or vegetable verses the one in the grocery store that was picked days and perhaps weeks in advance, which has gone through travels sitting on trucks and stored in warehouses.
Since I am learning to see myself as more than just a body but a being that has energy frequencies, I’ve become aware of what kind of energy I’m around as well as the energy I am putting off. We can feel or sense another’s energy and because we are capable of doing this, energy affects us consciously and subconsciously. It’s important to be aware of what state you are in while preparing food for yourself, family and others. What kind of energy do you want to give others? I want my energy to come from appreciation, gratefulness and joy. If I’m not there I do my best to get there before preparing food. We may not always know or sense others energy and because of this, prayer is a gift we can give ourselves before we eat. You never know what kind of energy the chef; cooks and servers are standing in. Are they standing in love or fear? Also when you are preparing or giving food to someone else, be in a state of gratitude and joy because this energy is on the food and passed along to the receiver.
I am grateful for learning the importance of prayer before eating my food as well as what state am I in while preparing a meal. Remember your thoughts, words and feelings can be prayer. What you emanate goes out to others.