The dinner is cleared, the house noise is quieting down, it is a good time to just sit around and chat. There's still some wine left, it didn't all spill, there's a cold one in the fridge or there is always a pitcher of water on the side board. I sat on Dirt's motorcycle for most of the day today so I'm going to go grab a cushion from the living room.
What's on the table tonight is the subject of prayer and it started from Alan Knox's Scripture... As We Live It #21 (Please go there, it really is a thought provoking blog, but if you'd rather stay here for the discussion without having to run around here is what he wrote:
Here is the twenty-first installment of "Scripture... As We Live It":Pray (without ceasing) very often occasionally in church and at meals. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 re-mix)
The words in parenthesis are the ones that are struck through which for some reason unknown to me didn't follow me over here from there. Strike through is not a skill I have bothered to acquire because, though it's a cute tool, I can't figure out fast enough how to do it. Alan, in his blog posts, every so often likes to strike a line through a correct portion of scripture and replace it with how we appear to read it gaged by our actions. It's very clever and usually elicits a response from me, but then what doesn't, (gotta use those 3 x 20,000 words somewhere)
My comment was:
"That whole praying over the meal thing - which I recognize we are called to do, just can't remember the verse, in 1 Cor. I think, any who - it drives me when the blessing for the meal becomes the prayer for the time we spend together, thanksgiving for the nice day and the cool things we did...Just thinking...
So lets talk about mealtime prayer and what I meant by my comment and what I see in scripture on the subject of praying at the meal which I realize is not the original intent of the post that I responded to.
The scripture that I was referring to is:
1Tim 4:3-5 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. NIV
forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. NKJ
I came across this verse when looking for scripture for the Sheet Diet (yes, I'll get back there soon) And it shocked me because even though I certainly must have read over this verse a gazillion times, okay, but at least three or four times in a studying manner, I obviously have never really read it. But when I read it this time what I saw, besides further evidence that all things can be eaten and not feared, was, for me, scriptural basis for praying over our meals. Now some one might look at that passage and see that it says by the word of God and prayer the food is consecrated. And some may feel that then if we think that this verse is scriptural justification for something most of us see or saw as just tradition, then we need to not only pray over the meal but read the Bible before the meal also.
I would say that the first part, the consecration by the word of God, has already happened. We acknowledge it by our prayer of thanksgiving for the gift he has given us of a bounty beyond the Law. The word of God has said that any animal four footed, bird or reptile is clean and we ought to not consider it unclean any longer. We haven't been half way consecrating our meals to God all these years we have been doing what we are supposed to do, we just didn't realize we were supposed to, or at least this here person writing this here post did not know that there was scriptural prompting to do so.
I am glad I am free from the Law and I am glad that when I come in from working in the garden about three hours past when I should have and grab a quick bite to eat and forget to pray, I am glad I have not just eaten something that it not clean or spoiled. I am glad I am covered by God's grace and mercy and that I can quickly repent and listen to the Holy Spirit better next time.
There are too many instances in scripture of praying, giving thanks for the meal, when the bread is broken, for this to be an isolated instance and therefore suspect. I was once told that we, Christians, don't build doctrine over something just mentioned once in scripture. I don't know if "I can't form doctrine" effects paying attention to it in other regards, remember I'm not a scholar so I don't know how all that works and what the difference between doctrine and what we do is. But I'm sure I'll get to know what it all means soon. But then again there are plenty of scriptural instances of praying thanksgiving over a meal. What are the instances that I am speaking of? Romans 14:6; 1Cor 10:30; Mk 8:6; Lk 9:16; 24:30; Acts 27:35
And that was from just a quick search. But now I am done chasing my tail all around that and I rest myself at the knowledge that I feel called to pray thanksgiving over a meal although I don't think any thing bad will happen or that I will be haul of to the stake if I mess up and forget to pray over lunch, or dinner or breakfast for that matter.
So what about my original gripe?
I think whether or not we pray all day, we should pray specifically for the meal, thanking Christ for coming to earth to free us from the Law, Sin and Death. We should thank God for a way for our bodies to sustain themselves. We should ask God to fill us grace and mercy for those who do not have the same understanding about God's bounty hat we hold. For we would wish for them to be graceful with us on a spot of lacking we posses.
But mostly that we should not use meal time as the catch all for lost communication though out the day. Maybe if we have forgotten to pray and give thanksgiving all day then we should do so before we come to the table. Maybe it would train us out of not praying without ceasing. But I wouldn't for the life of me call someone out while they were praying about every little thing during the day as my steak grew cold, but then I'm not really hungry right now as I right this. So don't hold me to my present stellar attitude.
Thanks for stopping by.