Deuteronomy 8:10 – When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee. (KJV)
Psalm 103:1-2 – Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. (KJV)
Recently, I joined a prayer ministry that has enriched my own personal communication with God. Based on Scripture promises, I am encouraged to depend on the Holy Spirit's leading, and have found a beautiful example of prayer based on God's Word, known as "Birkat Hamazon" or "grace after meals". In Jewish tradition, the prayer is considered the main blessing, recited after the conclusion of the meal, and acknowledges God's sustenance in providing the necessities of life for all His creation. A short version is found on the Hebrew for Christians website:
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, Master of the universe, Who nourishes the whole world in goodness, with grace, kindness, and compassion. He gives bread to all flesh, for His mercy endures forever. And through His great goodness we have never lacked, nor will we lack food forever, for the sake of His great Name. For He is God, Who nourishes and sustains all, and does good to all, prepares food for all His creatures which He created. Blessed are You, Lord, Who nourishes all. Amen.
This prayer brought back memories of my background. A simplified prayer of grace after meals was also a part of our tradition. A long time has passed since practicing this custom. Being only a ritual, at that time, I did not understand the significance of "grace" and its purpose of keeping our minds focused on the source of all blessings.
The "Birkat Hamazon", inspired by God's commandment to Israel in the first of today's Scriptures, Deuteronomy 8:10, also means remembering God's provision for His people before they inherited the "good land". It means celebrating how the Lord sustained them through difficult times. For Christians today, it demonstrates how we too can acknowledge God's grace in every aspect of our lives.
With these thoughts in mind, may our tables be altars of praise and thanksgiving for the Lord's goodness and mercy. Like Israel, may the Lord's church bless His holy name at all times and forget not all His benefits.
Prayer: Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, for Your mercy endures throughout all generations. Keep Your church ever mindful of Your grace, that we may never cease to declare Your praises. We humbly thank You for the miracle of our redemption through Your Son, Jesus Christ, Who is the living bread and the true manna from heaven. Permit us to offer the firstfruits of our lives, always giving glory and honour to Your name. Amen.