Thursday, October 7, 2010


I have a standard grace I say over my food. It’s lame but my brain sometimes goes on autopilot when I pray. My all-purpose food blessing goes something like this:

Lord, thank you for this food. Bless it and let it be nourishment for my body. In Jesus name, Amen.

But lately, I’ve been convicted about it and I’ve been trying to make sure my heart is in every grace I utter. For instance, this was one of my recent prayers for grace:

Lord, thank you for allowing me to have food when others in the world don’t. Thank you for not having to watch my children starve to death. Amen.

Now the moment I finished this prayer, the gravity of it struck me. My children have eaten almost day of their lives. I’ve eaten for over 13, 500 days (and I’m telling my age) but some people haven’t lived that many days, much less eaten than many days. I’m grateful that God saw fit that I wouldn’t have to live a life of extreme suffering but my gratitude sometimes feels inappropriate.

The root of my prayer is “Lord, I thank you that I’m not as bad as others,” which sound a lot like the prayer of the publican in Luke 18:11-12. The publican thanked God that he wasn’t like the sinner who prayed nearby. I don’t think I have the same problem with pride as the publican, but it does feel odd to be grateful that I don’t suffer like others.
Should I feel this way?

After a moment of consideration, I realized that it’s not that I shouldn’t thank God that I don’t have to suffer but I need balance. I should thank God for everything He does, like I Thessalonians 5:18 commands us to do. I should give thanks in the good times, when I have food but I should also thank Him when life breaks my heart. I should be as grateful while I’m suffering as I am when I’m not. I should be grateful for the hard times God allows in my life and grateful for the trials He prevents me from experiencing.

So in every thing, (food or no food, problems or no problems) give thanks; for his is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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