Catholic Grace Prayers to Use Before and After Meals

1950's style parents and children saying Grace Before Meals.
Tim Bieber/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Catholics, all Christians in fact, believe that every good thing we have comes from God, and we are reminded to call this to mind frequently.  Too often, we assume that the good things in our life are the result of our own labor, and we forget that all of the talents and good health that let us perform the hard work that puts food on our table and a roof over our heads are gifts from God, as well.

 

The term grace is used by Christians to refer to very short prayers of thanksgiving offered before a meal, and sometimes afterwards. The term "saying Grace" refers to reciting such a prayer before or after a meal. For Roman Catholics, there are two prescribed prayers often used for grace, although it's also common for these prayers to be individualized for particular circumstances of a particular family. 

Traditional Grace Prayer for Before Meals

In the traditional Catholic Grace prayer used before a meal, we acknowledge our dependence on God and to ask Him to bless us and our food. This prayer is slightly different than the traditional grace prayer offered after a meal, which typically is one of thanksgiving for the food we have just received. The traditional phrasing for a grace offered before a meal is: 

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Traditional Grace Prayer for After Meals

Catholics rarely recite a grace prayer after meals these days, but this traditional prayer is well worth reviving. While the grace prayer before meals asks God for His blessing, the grace prayer recited after a meal is a prayer of thanksgiving for all of the good things that God has given us, as well as a prayer of intercession for those who have helped us.

And finally, the grace prayer for after a meal is an opportunity to call to mind all those who have died and to pray for their souls. The traditional phrasing for a Catholic grace prayer after meals is: 

We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for all thy benefits,
Who livest and reignest, world without end.
Amen.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, to reward with eternal life,
all those who do us good for Thy name's sake.
Amen.

V. Let us bless the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Amen.

Grace Prayers in Other Denominations

Prayers of grace are also common in other religious denominations. Some examples: 

Lutherans: "Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen."

Eastern Orthodox Catholics Before Meals: "O Christ God, bless the food and drink of Thy servants, for holy art Thou, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

Eastern Orthodox Catholics After Meals: "We thank Thee, O Christ our God, that Thou hast satisfied us with Thine earthly gifts; deprive us not of Thy Heavenly Kingdom, but as Thou camest among Thy disciples, O Saviour, and gavest them peace, come unto us and save us."

Anglican Church:  "O Father, Thy gifts to our use and us to Thy service; for Christ’s sake. Amen."

Church of England: "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful/grateful. Amen."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormans):  "Dear Heavenly Father, we thank thee for the food that has been provided and the hands that have prepared the food. We ask thee to bless it that it may nourish and strengthen our bodies. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Methodist Before Meals: "Be present at our table Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may feast in fellowship with Thee. Amen"

Methodist After Meals: "We thank thee, Lord, for this our food, But more because of Jesus' blood. Let manna to our souls be given, The Bread of Life, sent down from heaven. Amen."

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Richert, Scott P. "Catholic Grace Prayers to Use Before and After Meals." ThoughtCo, Feb. 5, 2018, thoughtco.com/grace-before-meals-542644. Richert, Scott P. (2018, February 5). Catholic Grace Prayers to Use Before and After Meals. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/grace-before-meals-542644 Richert, Scott P. "Catholic Grace Prayers to Use Before and After Meals." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/grace-before-meals-542644 (accessed February 21, 2018).