“Please bless the food that it may change on a molecular level to provide us with additional strength that we would not get otherwise…”

I’m out of the YSA circuit now, but when I was there I often heard the prayer, “Please bless the refreshments, that they may nourish and strengthen our bodies.” It was funny because the “refreshments” were usually cookies and punch. I am glad I was never called on to bless the refreshments, because I probably would have refused. Putting the questionable nourishing power of donuts aside, why do we ask for a blessing on the food? Do we expect it to change the food in some way? What kind of change? 

The Family Guidebook (LDS.org) says, “Parents should teach their children to thank God for their food and ask Him to bless it before they eat. Each person, including young children, should be given a turn to ask God to bless the food.” Okay, so we should bless the food, but it does not say why… Some possibly related scriptures: “And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee, (Exodus 23:25).”  “Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude, (Luke 9:16).” Still, not very clear.  A lot of things happen in the Bible that we do not practice.

 A discussion at Splendid Sun delved into this issue a few years back: “I have come to drop the customary blessing on the food, since I don’t know what it does and I can’t find any evidence that it does anything or is commanded or even recommended by God.” – steve h. “Before I gave up blessing the food, I started getting rid of the strengthen and nourish thing. – John.  “What about opening our mouths if we accidentally take a bite first so that the blessing can get down there?” – S. Hancock.

BYU law professor John Welch said this in a devotional speech: “May you pray over your books, as you would bless food for thought.” Why don’t we bless things besides food? (Maybe some do, but I never have.) What about this scripture: “…ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul, (2 Nephi 32:9).”  Perhaps we should ask a blessing on everything we do that relates to the welfare of our soul.

I think many of us have become ritualistically obsessed with the word “bless” (as it relates to food) to the point that it has lost its meaning. We need to figure out what “bless the food” means to us, or our prayers around the table may lack meaning. And while I’m thinking about this, I’m going to consider blessing my copy of The Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment Planner.

A few more questions:

  • Where/when did the blessing on the food originate? 
  • Is asking for a blessing on the food more important than asking for one on any other object? 
  • What is significant of food? 
  • If we don’t bless the food, what are we missing out on? 
  • Why the repetition–What is the purpose of blessing every meal?

Comments

comments

40 comments for ““Please bless the food that it may change on a molecular level to provide us with additional strength that we would not get otherwise…”

  1. March 1, 2008 at 11:44 am

    We give thanks for the food. We don’t ask a blessing on it. Then we express our desire to “do good” with the health and energy we derive from it.

  2. Last Lemming
    March 1, 2008 at 11:46 am

    I don’t know the origin of blessing the food, but I’m willing to guess that it was during a period in which today’s standards of sanitation did not prevail. The “nourish and strengthen” part was probably a euphemism “not make us sick.” There are some lunch places I have stopped frequenting because they required to much public praying.

    Is asking for a blessing on the food more important than asking for one on any other object?

    Eugene England seemed to place some importance on blessing recalcitrant automobiles.

    http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/dialogues/chapter9.htm#chevrolet

    Also, I have been known to extend blessings to surgeons, medicine, medical hardware when giving blessings of the sick.

  3. March 1, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I served a mission in Germany and picked up the habit of blessing those eating the food, that it would nourish and strengthen our bodies. Do one has ever questioned it. I doubt most people pay close enough attention to even notice that I say “bless us” instead of “bless it.” I don’t know if that means I’m failing according to some of the quotes you mention. It just seems to make more sense to me. Don’t change the food, but bless my body that it will receive it and process it in a beneficial manner.

  4. March 1, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    lol….a very compelling read Adam. Witty and engaging. As a scientist I would LOVE to be able to do experiments on “blessing” things and see the probabilities of impurities being removed. Man…Louis Pasteur had it WAY off….dont pateurize it….just “bless it”.

    I like to give thanks for my food and I would like to scientifically test the validity of blessing ones food of impurities.

  5. March 1, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    One dicitonary definitnon of bless is “to consecrate or sanctify by a religious rite; make or pronounce holy.”

    What if we saw it in the light of consecration? The way I understand it, when a Priesthood holder consecrates oil, it is not to change the chemical properties of the oil, but rather to officially designate the oil as the substance to be properly used in performing blessings… a “setting apart,” if you will.

    Although in that light, the Lord technically already consecrated the earth and all of its produce for the use of man in one fell swoop (D&C 49:19)

    Perhaps it needs further consecration to be designated for oral consumption?

    • Frank
      March 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Interesting comment! Thank you, as your comment and triggered a train of thought that has helped me.

      So in Doctrine and Covenants 49:19 – 19 For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.

      I noticed that you used the word ordained to mean the same thing as bless or consecrate why?

      1 Timothy 4:3-6 – 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

      I think the book of Acts does a great job in explaining what to do about prayer for food. Acts 27:35 – And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

      In scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants 49:19 doesn’t ordained that Heavenly Father has given the ok for man to eat those things ? not blessing those things? Who can give blessings? Can anybody bless? https://www.lds.org/manual/family-guidebook/priesthood-ordinances-and-blessings?lang=eng&query=blessings

      Acts 11: 6-9 – 6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. 8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

      what an interesting thing to happen. I had been studying prayer, and this very subject was brought to my mind. Why should one bless food that is or can be harmful to another? If anybody can bless food why have the priesthood? With the priesthood we are able to heal the sick and afflicted according to faith. James 4:17 become more and more helpful to me in understanding things of the church and life itself. I am by know means good with words that is why I often have to look them up even if I think I know the meaning. I think it to be not good at the moment of understanding to bless food. I do not the thing blessing and giving thanks are one and the same. There is a scripture in 3 Nephi that discusses arguing over doctrine. There are scriptures in which we are suppose to teach those who do not understand scriptures. There is a scripture for us to be as children. There is a scripture for use to be humble and meek. We have scripture that says we need not worry about food or drink. This is a great question to ask the apostles and or prophet in regards to blessings. By what authority is one able to bless food? Should the word bless be used so lightly?

      Words I had to look up are ordain, and blessing. I also looked up meat. It can mean eating animals or according to other definitions it could mean this – a food; especially: solid food as distinguished from drink. : The edible part of something as distinguished from its covering.

  6. March 1, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    When Daniel W. Jones, part of the rescue company sent to help the stranded handcart pioneers in 1856, prayed over the meager food left after the grueling journey (they were down to eating boiled cowhide) by asking the Lord to bless their stomachs, not the food:

    We asked the Lord to bless our stomachs and adapt them to this food. … We hadn’t the faith to ask him to bless the raw-hide, for it was “hard stock.” On eating now all seemed to relish the feast. We were three days without eating before this second attempt was made. We enjoyed this sumptuous fare for six weeks. (Daniel W. Jones, Forty Years Among the Indians, pp. 81-82).

  7. March 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    There are some lunch places I have stopped frequenting because they required too much public praying.

    You know if you keep saying things like that, reporters are going to keep asking for your e-mail address. 😉

  8. John Nilsson
    March 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Adam,

    Good post. I know that many Native Americans thank the animal (buffalo, elk, etc.) they kill for allowing them the privilege of eating it and using its skin for shelter. I’m sure that our practice of blessing the food ultimately derives from primitive practices (which sometimes seem more civilized than just stuffing our faces with no thought to what we’re doing) in our distant past which saw all life as having spirits which ought to be recognized and/or placated.

    That being said, Mormons seem to be, as you note, hung up on the word “blessing” here. Other Christians call it “saying grace.” I’m not sure why they do, but I think we are definitely in the minority.

  9. March 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    I think John has it right in #1. But it is a good question why we don’t have the custom of doing the same things with other things that we should also be thankful for and hope will benefit us, like when we sit down to read a book. Maybe because historically food is the most apparent thing for which we have to be thankful for, and which we are immediately dependent for our survival. Maybe we’d all have a different perspective on “blessing” the food (or “saying grace” if you will), if we all had to hunt, gather, or grow our own food or die trying. I think that would make my prayers more sincere.

  10. March 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    If there isn’t a clear purpose, maybe what I’m after here is some more flexibility for prayers, i.e. thanking the animal, blessing one’s stomach, or expressing the desire to do good with our energy, as John said above.

    #2 Last Lemming – Thanks for that link. I love Eugene England’s writing… maybe in that vein we should worry more about blessing the donuts than the broccoli.

    Stephen W./John N. – Thanks! I was a little nervous about writing here for the first time, so it’s nice to hear.

    #5 KC Kern – I can understand the consecration idea, in a symbolic sense. The only hang up I would have with that is the relative frequency compared to other blessings.

  11. Geraldine
    March 1, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    I remember sister-in-law telling me that one Thanksgiving when she was a child they called on her to ask the blessing. So, she said, “Bless the food that it will not harm our bodies”. She was still mortified those many years later that she had insulted all the cooks!

  12. jks
    March 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    You just need to ask him to bless it. God can bless it however he wants. No need to get trapped into praying for him to bless it in a specific way like nourishing and strengthening us. People just like to get wordy, or are not sure what to say so they say what they have heard others say.
    It is like opening or closing a meeting. You don’t have to pray for us to travel in safety, or for those who are too sick to come.
    Kids are great. My 8 year old son closed primary with a prayer that included “help those who don’t like church that they won’t have such a tough time next week.”
    When I bless the food, I usually thank HF for the food and for my family and ask “Please bless the food” or “we ask for a blessing on the food” and then close.
    I consider it a way to pray continually and thank God continually for everything. I may not be the world’s most consistant pray-er, but I believe that praying is important and prayer is always appropriate in any situation.

  13. Dan Knudsen
    March 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Many years ago I “heard” that Elder John A Widtsoe had once blessed a meal with something to the effect, “If Thou canst, bless that which Thou hast cursed.” (I have no source for that quotation.)

  14. Dan Knudsen
    March 1, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    A related apocryphal story is that someone was at Brigham Young’s house for family prayer, and BY was praying and when he asked the Lord to bless Brother So-and-so that he’d do what’s right he broke out laughing. When he’d regained his composure he said, “Sorry, Lord, but you know how he is.”

  15. March 1, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    jks, you raise a good point that since we have to eat frequently and consistently, saying a prayer before eating may be a good way to remind ourselves to pray frequently and consistently.

  16. March 1, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    You should hear some of the things my kids come up with in their daily and rather creative prayers. I don’t think they’ve yet said “nourish and strengthen” or anything close. In fact, before I realized what a mistake it was to really push that I tried to get them to say it and they flat couldn’t do it. I rather suspect that if you are trying to use words that a four year old can’t pronounce in a meal-time prayer, then you’ve got serious issues.

    I regard mealtime prayers mostly as a way to express my gratitude that I in fact have some food, and perhaps give thought to those that do not. Anything else that pops into my head might get said, but if it takes more than about ten seconds to say the prayer at a mealtime I’m getting pretty upset.

    Of course, I’ve heard it said anecdotally that J Widtsoe (spelling?) said that no meeting should take more than 2 minutes to open and 30 seconds to close by prayer. I may have the times wrong, but I fully agree to his intent. An opening prayer in ANY meeting should essentially take the form of the normal stuff we say at the beginning and end of prayers, giving thanks that we are there, have the gospel, and possibly a place to hold the meeting, then finally an invocation of the spirits guidance on the meeting. Depending on the nature of the meeting, it may be necessary for additional time to be spent in the prayer considering specifics of that guidance, but generally not. As a general rule, I think, the larger the meeting (read: general conference) the SHORTER the prayers should be. Anytime I hear a 2+ minute prayer in GC, I want to turn off the TV/leave the room. It makes me angry. Closing prayers should be limited to gratitude for the spirit felt in the meeting, and a petition for strength to act on any inspiration or plans developed during the meeting. If you can’t do that in under 30 seconds, then you need to find someone less geriatric. Again, the larger and more general the meeting, the more true this is.

    The blessing of food, to me, is simply a matter of giving thanks. And yes, I think recognizing that your food was given through the life of another creature (plant or animal) is appropriate. Unless you are eating a fruit or similar food that doesn’t kill the plant it is taken from, something (plant or animal) gave it’s life so you can live. Recognize that, and be grateful that God allows it and does not count it sin. [NOT to turn this into a vegetarian vs. carnivores debate, but obviously omnivores RULE! On a more serious note, I think that the position of serious thought is that all things have a spirit of some level of light and therefore intelligence. Plants may be somewhat lower than most animals, but are no less alive or real. In the ultimate scheme of all things, I see it this way: God has given us a great blessing by allowing us to eat freely of many many things, and expects us then to use great judgment and care now that we have the scientific tools to do so. I think that a modern version of the word of wisdom, revealed today, would look more like an admonition to remain healthy, eat a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy body weight, an active lifestyle (which would make a LOT of members REALLY flinch), and to avoid the use of any addictive substances except under the care of a competent physician. It might even make mention of the need to avoid fad diets, strange fruit juice concoctions of unknown properties and the like [if anything ever needed blessing, it’s some of the supposed miracle ‘juices’ that I hear about coming from other members of the church who are trying to market them to me–argh!].

    Also, I agree with 15.–it is a good way to remind us to say a prayer at least three times a day, although I am a grazer–I tend to eat at LEAST 5 times a day, with almost constant snacking. It means I have REALLY watch my portions at meal time because otherwise I wind up with about an extra 1000 calories that I can’t burn off. When I was in high school my typical diet was in the 5000 to 6000 range, and I was not an athlete of any type–I just ate whatever I liked whenever I liked. I was also in reasonably good shape, weighed about 190, with a VERY healthy physique. No one ever considered me overweight or fat (now I have a bit of a gut that I’m losing, but at 224, I’m down 15 pounds in the past 2 months!).

    What was I talking about? Oh well–time for some sleep.

  17. Rigel Hawthorne
    March 1, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Re: You just need to ask him to bless it. God can bless it however he wants.

    My parents didn’t say nourish and strengthen. They usually said, “we ask thee to bless it and sanctify it to our use.” I picked up the nourish and strengthen thing later, partly because I felt like I was being to repetitive by using the traditional family prayer.

  18. March 1, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    I like how some Hindus consecrate their food for God’s use. They let him eat for 5 or 10 minutes, then they eat God’s leftovers. I always imagined that we would thereby get infected with God’s germs and become more godlike. So my blessing before meals usually includes an invitation for God to eat first and enjoy the food. I only give him a minute or two to eat, though, usually, so nothing goes cold. That’s sort of rude, isn’t it? “Enjoy the food, but please be quick about it ’cause I’m hungry.”

  19. Mark D.
    March 2, 2008 at 10:08 am

    In my opinion, a God who is unable or unwilling to intervene on occasion in some manner or another (use your imagination) to mitigate the harm from improperly produced, processed, prepared, or stored food isn’t a God worth praying to at all.

  20. FooboyX
    March 2, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    It does change the food, just like our blood is LITERALLY changed by baptism to the blood of Abraham. Adoption in to the house of Israel IS LITERAL. Just asked Sister X in my home ward.

    Please note that the Catholic idea of transubstantiation, however, is complete bunk.

  21. tiredmormon
    March 2, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    My crazy mormon neighbor did scientific experiments to prove that prayers by LDS faithful changed food. They didn’t find anything. *shock*

  22. March 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Ultimately it seems to me that everything we do in the church is for our own progression, or “the welfare of our souls”. I’m planning on writing about that later but in this case, the prayer before eating should have some spiritual benefit. If it’s just that it reminds us to pray more often (re:#12), then I’m probably going to drop the “bless” part and try to be more sincere in other more meaningful ways.

  23. jks
    March 2, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    I think as Mormons we tend to be a little uncomfortable with things being too ritualized. Meal blessings can seem like “vain repetions.” But HF has endorsed many ritual things so we should not be too uncomfortable with it.
    We have the freedom to make the blessing on the food more than a thoughtless rote prayer. I admit I try really hard to avoid the common phrases like “nourish and strengthen” and try to switch things up a little each time, or keep it simple with no extra phrases, and I do notice my kids call it “prayer” not “blessing” (probably because I just have one phrase to try to get them to be quiet for all prayer occasions “time for prayer”). But I think if we are encouraged to have a prayer to bless the food, we should go ahead and ask for a blessing on the food.
    Perhpas because I’m not a priesthood holder who has gone around giving other types of “blessings,” I have no baggage. It is simply a prayer. Prayer is where you ask for blessings on your family and in your life.
    As I helped my daughter with her talk this morning on the Atonement, I showed her the scriptures where Christ asked for his preference, but then said “thy will be done.” I pointed out to her that I felt that is how we should prayer. It is ok to ask for what we want, but we should also say that we will submit to his will. How does this story apply? Hmmm, well, I guess it just means that prayer is about us aligning our will to God’s, not just telling God what to do with the food. So, I guess I stand by the statement that God can bless the food however he wants, but if he wants me to ask, I’ll go ahead and ask…….at least each night at the dinner table. My bowl of cereal never gets blessed. Hmmm, maybe I ought to try to change that. What are the chances of me remembering tomorrow morning?

  24. March 2, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I think the formal expression of gratitude, if one means it, is useful for the soul and should probably be applied to a lot of other things than food. When one deems it necessary to “bless the food” seems a bit random depending on ones level of orthodoxy. A tangent topic to which I’ve given some thought is the way in which prayers are used for anxiety management. If that is the case it seems it would be better to ask that we not suffer from unhelpful fear and excessive anxiety, rather than asking that no harmer accident befall us and our family and friends. Hmm…sounds a little bit like ‘may I be free from suffering and the causes of suffering,’ doesn’t it?

  25. DW
    March 2, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Funny you would write about this.

    I just wrote a post in which I list Mormon folk beliefs, and the idea that food needs to be blessed is one of them.

    Check it out: http://denniswendt.blogspot.com/2008/03/mormon-folk-beliefs.html

  26. March 2, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    #24-Emily – I have started using the prayers before meals as a “formal expression of gratitude” for many things in addition to food. As for excessive anxiety, I agree it would be good to pray to not suffer from it. I think we probably get stuck in phrases like “bless the food…” or “make it home safely” etc. because they don’t take much effort to say nor do they require much feeling.

    #35 – DW-Thanks for that link. That’s an interesting list… Whether or not food needs to be “blessed” is a good question, although I am more interested in what it does.

  27. DW
    March 3, 2008 at 12:17 am

    #26: No problem, Adam. I actually decided to add links that I know of to some of the items on the list, and I added this post for the couple related to blessing food.

  28. Jeff Spector
    March 3, 2008 at 6:31 am

    Blessing the food has always seemed much better to me than “blessing the hands that prepared it…..” Jack Marshall has a funny talk in which he asks, “why just bless the hands, what about the rest of the person who prepared it….”

  29. WP Lyon
    March 3, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I think to better understand this phenomenon one has to look back a century and a half or more to the time of the restoration. Food borne pathogens certainly were much more common then, though the Bush regime seems to have shortchanged our food inspections and the Chinese have not helped. Consider too the abundance of consumption of our day to those passed. Recall Jos. and Oliver had to cease the translation for two months as there was no food so they went in search of work to obtain food. Finally, Bro. Partridge sent a wagon with supplies to them. Given their primitive agrarian origins hunger, scarcity, and the potential for illness it was a pretty big thing to have a Sunday dinner like we have at our house.

    Maybe we should make that a part of our ritual in our ‘Supersize me’ world to remember those who had and have less even today in many places in 3rd world lands. Our thoughts and introspection should motivate us to share with those who have not.

    Thanks for your post. I enjoyed reading it.

  30. DKL
    March 7, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    I don’t pay much attention to blessings on the food at mealtime. I do, however, ask Jesus to turn the sacrament bread into His flesh in my tummy. When I do that, the sacrament feels more filling.

  31. May 15, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I like to hear my kids “bless the food, that it will nourish and strengthen our bodies”, because it reminds them that by eating their dinner, they’ll grow and be healthy. Sometimes kids need all the help they can get to eat things they might not be super excited about eating.

    Personally, I still say, “bless the food” but for me the more important part is to express gratitude for it. My Mister’s family also like to bless those that prepared it, which I think is a nice way of saying thanks to their mom.

  32. June 5, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Over 3 months later, and I’m still saying “please bless it” … I agree though, gratitude is the most important part. #31 – I like the emphasis on “nourish and strengthen” with being healthy. Maybe the prayer for kids should be “Please bless us that we may be able to stomach this asparagus because it will nourish and strengthen us. 😉

  33. What
    December 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    It seems that we are contemplating here a mutating faith. We are drifting towards a kind of well-mannered behaviour towards god from what I always believed, and always will, a genuine faith where we actually believe that if we prepare what in our mind is a healthy and nurrishing meal, the Lord will do his part and bless the food itself.
    Remember in the scriptures, when it is mentionned in D&C 89 that there will be conspirators in the latter days? I have been studying food for years. Meat/Sugar/Dairy trusts, as well as chemical companies, have so much power that they have, with their gain as a sole focus, forced the hand of science into ways of working and researching that nullify completely the objectivity of the most widely publicised and mediatised researches. It is fascinating to study. There are many good books available for all to get educated on the subject.
    Once you know certain facts, you are grateful for the knowledge that Heavenly Father can protect you from many harmful substances expertly added to wholesome foods. I believe in a God of power, not one who simply expect us to abide by a code of religious political correctness and say superficial prayers that are pleasant to the ear.
    Great blog by the way, and great comments. I hope I’m not killing it off!

  34. John
    February 8, 2009 at 4:04 am

    I was contemplating this very question, which has led me to this very site as well as other comparable sites. I am not part of the regular community, but I am a practicing Mormon, as in temple-worthy and having a testimony. I apologize in advance for the long windedness of this post, but I am not sure how to express my impressions of this simply.

    It is with prayer that I first approached this question, and I truly hope that the Spirit guides me in answering this complex, and yet amazingly simple question.

    First of all I would like to approach the “science” of blessing. I completely agree with earlier posts that scientifically, there is no such thing as a blessing. You are trying, in a sense, to measure the spiritual effect within the physical world. That is not to say that spirit does not exist within the physical world, just that science (which is really physical observation followed by theory) is incapable of seeing, or measuring spirit…

    Consider, (D&C 131:7-8):
    There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;
    We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.

    So we know what a blessing is not: it is not physical. There is no physical difference between our garments and those made by Hanes. There is no physical difference between our Temple and a Wal-Mart. There is no physical change to our Sacrament. It is not physically made flesh, nor is the water physically made blood. Such a concept of converting physical matter using ritual or science is present in the flawed belief systems of Alchemy and Magic. I am not saying that such miracles are beyond the power of God; he can easily remove the salmonella from my uncooked chicken; it is just not the point of the blessing.

    So let’s move to what a blessing is; as correctly identified before, a blessing is consecrating, (setting apart for the use of God) or making Holy. The blessing of God is upon our Garment, our Temple, and our Sacrament. Using the priesthood authority we are given the power to bless or curse, in accordance with God’s will. We ask for a blessing, not give a blessing… as we cannot bless anything. We have no power over the spirit or spiritual matter. Only God has this power. We beseech him in prayer to make these places and these things clean, or Holy.

    So, when we pray for God to bless this meal, we are not asking him to convert matter or sanitize the food against germs and spoilage, we are asking for him to consecrate it, make it holy; make it spiritually clean.

    For what purpose? Is it important at all?
    Under Mosaic Law, several foods were prohibited as being unclean. Belief was not that these foods would somehow kill you or were not nutritious; it was given upon the idea that eating unclean foods would make your body unclean. We are talking once again about a spiritual un-cleanliness, not a physical un-cleanliness. We are told that our bodies are to be temples; that is, clean vessels for the Spirit to dwell within. We are no longer commanded to observe the Law of Moses, but we are commanded to be clean. We have been given a Word of Wisdom – not a “Word of Knowledge”. We do not follow the WOW in order to be physically healthy; we follow it to be spiritually clean. The health is returned to us as part of the covenant. We promise to follow the WOW and God promises to bless us with strength and health. It is not some diet plan or unlikely intelligence from an unschooled farm boy – it is in fact a plan to keep ourselves clean. As clean vessels of the Spirit, we abstain from attitudes and behaviors that would cause us to be unclean.

    It is evident not only in the timeliness of the revelation but also within the revelation itself; the attitudes and behaviors were unseemly before God. That is one of the reasons that for us to be temple worthy, we must follow the WOW. If we are not following the WOW we are impure, unclean, spiritually to enter a clean place.

    So yes, asking for a blessing on your food is necessary. Maybe we should ask then for him to “bless this food, and make it safe to eat”… but not equate the two; they are two separate and distinct things.

  35. Donseegmiller
    March 27, 2012 at 5:41 am

    I’m not sure what the Family Guide Book is, but if our leaders counsel us to ask the Lord to bless the food, that is good enough for me… like Adam told why he was offering sacrifices he said, “I know not save the Lord commanded me.” Not like blind obedience or anything.  It is just that I know that the Book of Mormon is true; therefore the restoration Jesus’s church is true and that He has given us leaders for us to follow, so that is what    I do.  There words, teachings and guidance have done nothing but bless my life.

      I have to admit that I have wondered about “blessing the food”  for quite awhile now.  I appreciate all of your sincere, thought provoking responses.  I am still unsure of exactly what or why I am supposed to do at meal times with the actual wording.  I also make use of that time to talk with the Lord about other blessings and concerns … if I am with family or by myself, as in personal or family prayer.  I am not going to ask God to “bless the hands of those who prepared it” and I going to reconsider the phrase “nourish and strengthen us.”  O, I don’t know.  Maybe I fret too much over it . . . but it has been a concern of mine for some time.  I guess if I can send a prayer into outer space a gazillion miles away to a God and His son who have created a gazillion worlds and I know that He has heard and answered my prayers, then I guess about anything is possible . . . Just tell me what to do . . . I guess the best thing for me to do is just be grateful and sincere about what I say.  God can translate the words a little if needs be.

  36. Frank
    March 11, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    @ Adam F. the writer of this article.

    “•Is asking for a blessing on the food more important than asking for one on any other object? ” and “•What is significant of food? ”

    My response to your question is this after spending additional time on studying the subjects of blessing and prayer. I would like to present the definition of the word as defined in Webster’s dictionary android app. 🙂 Bless = 1. to hollow or consecrate by religious rite or word 2. to hollow with the sign of the cross 3. to invoke divine care for used in the phrase bless you to wish one who has just sneezed. 4. praise, glorify (b). to speak well of : approve 5. To confer prosperity or happiness upon 6. archaic: protect, preserve 7. endow, favor

    There are many scriptures that teach us not to cease in prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. In Leviticus 7:12 it talks about thanksgiving in regards to sacrifices. I find it interesting that the bread is a symbol of Jesus Crist body. I also find it interesting the Jesus Crist basically says do as i do in life. When praying in the Garden of Gethsemane he bled from every pore. Then we are to drink of his blood in the form of water. He ended the law of Moses through the Ultimate perfect Sacrifice. Jesus Christ being perfect gave himself as a sacrifice to Heavenly Father. Now food is a worldly thing a carnal thing so is drink. This gives the carnal body ability to live a longer life and the ability to overcome what Heavenly Father has for use to overcome before we receive judgment according to our works.

    I do not know that we should not sanctify other things through prayer. In fact i think there is a scripture that says we should sanctify things in Jesus Christ name making those things for the use of Gods purpose.

    “•If we don’t bless the food, what are we missing out on? ”

    In my opinion at this point is we miss out on a lot spiritually. I think when we thank God/ Heavenly Father for things that he provided us we have become humble and show gratitude for his love fore us. I think if we didn’t say such prayers we would lose sight of what is really important in life. That being returning to our Father in Heaven. There are people in life that do not pray. i was that person at one time in my life. I know that by not saying prayers i had no clue of the will of God. I had no clue of true happiness. As my life was filled with nothing but darkness and great sorrow. When i love somebody i make it a point to thank them for the kindness they shown me. Even for those i don’t or can say i fully love as God desires of me. I speak of family and friends when i use the word love and am learning to apply this towards others as i grow in life. When we pray and act on prayer we apply faith. The more we exercise faith the more it grows. That is what is promised us in scriptures. If only i had the faith of the 2000 stripling soldiers, of the brother of Jared, or of those who saw Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi.

    As far as i understand things. All things have and or organized and have law. All things then have a purpose

    “•Why the repetition–What is the purpose of blessing every meal?”

    I would just like to make this answer simple according to how i see and understand things currently. We say prayer every morning and every night. We are told to go to our secret closets and pray. We are told not to use vain repetition’s. We are taught something that is very interesting to me in James 4:17 . We are always learning and growing in one direction or another. Every time we give a sincere heartfelt prayer for food or in any circumstance it is a good thing. Prayer is the most sacred form of communication. It incorporates emotions, not just words, it sends our thoughts and possibly images. It is a great gift to be able to communicate to God. How much does a loving family member or friend want to hear from us? How much more does a perfect being such as our Heavenly Father want to hear from us and tell him of our plans and progress or lack of progress. It is not a chore to say a prayer for food but a gift and blessing to be able to do so in the name of the Only Begotten son Jesus Christ. The only issue we have in life is our own lack of understanding. I hope the best for you and thank you for posting an honest question and thought because i to just recently had similar questions when it came to blessing food. Most times for me it is a word that needs to be looked up and definition applied along with prayer.

    I hope the best for you!

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