It came up in conversation with someone from the US recently that there were people (I believe in the Christian Church) that were no longer praying before eating as a matter of course. Why? They did not consider it Biblical. They made it a point to make that known (when they chose not to pray before a meal, and were asked why.)
What exactly is their stance on this issue? I can not say, but I found it challenging to what I believe and practice...that is praying before eating. Why do I do it? Before I share my thoughts, let me first say I firmly believe in praying without ceasing, which is Biblical. We should be in constant comunion with God. Can I realistically do that? Probably not, but it is something to strive for all the days of our life, right? So whether or not we say it outloud, or try to look pious if we are alone with our hands folded, head bowed, or whether we just silently say gracias to Him who deserves it without anyone else knowing, we should be in prayer with God.
I assume that by the above stated stance they were not saying it was un-Biblical to pray before eating, but that rather it was not a mandate from the Bible to do so. If so, I think I can understand that. Sometimes I have felt like "saying grace" (Is that akin to sharing the gospel? I am curious as to the etymology of that idiom?) has become very rooted in legalism. If I do not pray before eating, is that sin? By some reactions I have seen one would think so. In certain situations where it is hard to pray together, we have passed word to pray individually. Someone walks up late, seeing people eating, and asks, almost in unbelief "Aren't we going to pray before we eat?" Have you ever been chastised for forgetting to pray before eating? I know I have...and have been the one doing the chastising, no matter how positive minded I might have been at the time.
Should we not pray before eating? Of course not. Jesus broke the bread, and gave thanks, etc. We give thanks for what we have received, an that is one way to do that.
Is it an absolute, that we must do so at all times or feel guilty if we do not? I am reminded of Romans 14. If we are strong in our faith in that area, so be it...as we accomodate those that are weak. If we are weak, then so be it...as we struggle and reach out for higher understanding...and not condemn those that are strong.