- Religion and Philosophy
The Importance of a Grateful Attitude
God is Great,
God is Good,
Let is Thank Him for Our Food
By His Hands We are Fed
Give Us Lord, Our Daily Bread.
As a child, it was my job to say this prayer before mealtime. At the time, I did not understand the importance of a grateful attitude. Now, as an adult, I have come to understand the true meaning of thankfulness and how gratitude stretches far beyond the dinner table.
The practice of saying grace is not exclusively practiced by the Christian faith. Mealtime prayers are common practice in many faiths. These prayers are a way to be thankful for the gift of life-sustaining food from the Creator of all good things. As noted teacher and writer, Ram Dass asserts, "The food I'm praying over, the bowl of oatmeal or whatever I'm eating is part of God, and I, who am offering up this food, am part of God. And the hunger that I am using the oatmeal to quiet--the pangs in my stomach, the desires, their fire that will consume this food-that's also part of God (Yoga Journal, 2012)." The importance of this quote from Dass is to reiterate the fact that all good gifts come from God.
Let us look at the following Native American Prayer:
Creator, Earth Mother,
we thank you for our lives and
this beautiful day. Thank You for the bright sun and the rain we received last night,
Thank You for this circle of friends
and the opportunity to be together.
We want to thank You especially at this time
for the giveaway of their lives made by the chickens, beets, carrots, grains and lettuce.
We thank them for giving of their lives
so we may continue our lives through this
great blessing. Please help us honor them through how we live our lives. (from 100 Graces: Meal Time Blessings).
This simple yet beautiful prayer reminds us that food is something that should not be taken for granted.
The past summer months have been some of the hottest months on record. Although, we live in the city, my husband and I grow a small garden in our backyard. This year the heat literally baked the vegetables as they hung on the vine yielding them of no use to us. However, the vegetables did not go to waste because plenty of small backyard animals enjoyed eating the remains of our garden.
As I watched the garden wither and dry, I thought about how fortunate we were to have access to other food. What if this garden had been our only source of food? What would we have done?
We should be thankful for each bite of food that we consume and be mindful of what we do not consume. The food that we receive is a gift. To waste this gift is an act of disrespect to the giver. It only takes a moment to say "Thank You" to the One that has provided your daily bread.
When you sit down to consume your next meal, remember to say a quick blessing for the gift that you are about to receive. A little gratitude goes a long way.