Offering thanks to our Creator before eating has been a part of almost every faith tradition in human history. From the ancient Greeks, who would first offer food and wine to their gods, to the aboriginal Americans who would give thanks to the animal who has given its life to feed them. The Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, christianity, and Islam, still acknowledge the offering of thanks before a meal, even today.
Well, we just found a little boy, whose parents are doing what they can to raise him right. However, as this hilarious video shows, sometimes a rumbling belly can not be denied. Watch this adorable little kid pray his way ruth through dinner. You are going to love this!
This got us thinking about the almost universal tradition of offering thanks before a meal, and we decided to take a look at how people of different faiths and times have said thanks for their food.
When Homer described the return of his hero in the epic poem “The Odyssey” he described the first meal the intrepid warrior shared with his former swineherd, Eumaeus. “.. Eat, the food, Stranger, that a servant can provide, sucking pig, since the pitiless Suitors, careless of the gods’ anger, take my fatted hogs. Yet the blessed gods do not approve of such wanton acts: they honour justice and decency. Even men who set foot on hostile soil, owing their enemies nothing, whom Zeus allows to gather spoils, to fill their ships and head for home, even in their hearts the fear of divine anger stirs. But these men here must have heard the voice of some god announcing my master’s sad death, seeing they neither pay genuine court, nor return to their homes, but waste our possessions arrogantly, as they wish, sparing nothing. They slaughter the beasts every night and day that Zeus sends, and not just one or two, and they draw what wine they need and more.”
When people of the Jewish faith sit down to a meal, they have a number of prayers to offer, depending on the types of food at the table
On bread, bagels, challah, matzah, pita and rolls made from any of these five grains: wheat, barley, rye, oat or spelt: “Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.”
On cakes, cereals, cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, and pasta – if made of one or more of the five grains listed under the first blessing: “Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who creates various kinds of sustenance.”
On wine and grape juice: “Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.”
For all fruits from permanent trees, such as apples, oranges, and peaches, even if these fruits are dried; also grapes, raisins, and all nuts (except peanuts, which are a legume): “Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree.”
For all vegetables and greens from the ground, peanuts, legumes, and some fruits such as bananas, melons, and pineapples: “Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the
Universe, Who creates the fruit of the earth.”
For candy, dairy, eggs, fish, liquids, meat, mushrooms and everything else not included in the first five blessings above: “Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, by Whose word all things came to be.”
In Islam, the prayer before eating a meal is as follows: “In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful.For the uniting of the Quraysh, For the union during their winter and summer journeys,
Let them worship the Lord of this house, Who fed them when they were hungry and gave them security against fear.”
After a meal, each participant is expected to offer their own silent prayer.
What kind of prayer or offering does your family follow during mealtime? Share your stories with us here.