Posted by: Anne | November 6, 2011

Don’t Ask the Blessing, Offer One

Don’t Ask the Blessing, Offer One

The Bless Me Club

So how did we Christians end up blessing the food instead of God? Tradition? Habit? Some of the confusion may have come from a mistranslation of the passage I just quoted. In the King James Version, Matthew 26:26 reads: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ ” Notice how the tiny word “it” was added after the word “blessed”? The word “it” isn’t part of the Greek text — that’s why it’s in italics in the King James Version. But “bless it” implies something far different than “bless God.” That addition of one little word may have twisted the way we pray before meals into something Jesus didn’t intend at all.

Not that there’s anything wrong in asking a blessing from God. There’s not. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” — but only after praise: “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done….” No, asking favors from God isn’t wrong, but it shouldn’t be the primary part of our prayers, or we become like greedy little children: “Gimme this! Gimme that!”. Those prayers are essentially selfish rather than self-giving. They don’t fulfill either the First Commandment, to love God with all our heart, or the Second, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

How Should We Pray?

The Apostle Paul put it in this perspective. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). Notice the phrase “with thanksgiving” tucked in there with “present your requests to God.” It’s essential to keep prayer God-centered rather than self-centered. It’s also the key to praying with real faith.

So when you pray, remember that your food doesn’t deserve a blessing nearly so much as God who gave it. You can bless like Jesus did, “Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the world, who has caused bread to come forth out of the earth.” Or offer a simple prayer of thanks to God for the food. Next time, don’t “ask the blessing,” but offer one to your Father.


Read the full article at:
www.joyfulheart.com/thanksgiving/offer-blessing.htm

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