Do You Pray Before Meals in Public?

Just the other day...the girls and I had to, once again, vacate the house while construction was going on (the room is still not finished by the way, but when it is, you shall see it...promise). We went to the mall for a few hours and while there, stopped to eat lunch at one of our favorite places. As we always do, we bowed to give thanks for our meal before eating. A few minutes later, a nice older gentleman in a business suit walked up to our table. He remarked that we must be having a "girl's day out" and then he looked at my kids and said, "I want you to know that it blessed me to see you all bow in prayer before your meal. I think that's wonderful." Then he looked at me and said, "You just don't see that much anymore." He patted me on the shoulder as if to say, "good job" and then walked away.

I have pondered his words to us quite a bit over the last little while. Growing up, it was common place to see others in a restaurant bowing for prayer before a meal. Nowadays, it is rare. I guess my family and I are a dying breed. It's just another sign of the times we live in...but, isn't it sad?!

According to the Barna Group, 83% of adults label themselves as "Christian". Of course, I realize that calling yourself a Christian does not necessarily mean you are one, but still, doesn't it seem true that if even 50% were actual Christians, then we should see more prayer going on before meals? Or maybe I'm just really naive (probably so!).

There is a passage in the Matthew 6 that talks about not praying publicly, and I wonder if that's why more Christians do not pray before meals when they are out. Those verses merely address the attitude of the heart in prayer, though. It warns not to let the intent of your praying be "to be seen" by others so that they applaud you or hold you in high regard.

If the true intent of your heart is to give thanks to the Lord and to humbly ask His blessing on a meal, whether at home or in public, then it is certainly acceptable in His sight!

I have to wonder though, if some Christians choose NOT to pray before meals in public because they are embarrassed. If that's the case, well, that makes me really sad! I think it's just another way that we, as Christians, are letting the world dictate our actions instead of our faith.

If we can't bow reverently prior to something as simple as a meal in public, I wonder how we will ever take a stand when it comes to matters of greater importance?

"Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:26

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