Author Topic: The prayer before meals  (Read 7345 times)

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Offline biro

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The prayer before meals
« on: September 11, 2010, 09:31:37 PM »
I would like to know a little in regard to the practice of prayers before we eat. What is a person to do if the normal eating time is delayed due to unforeseen events, or one is ill, or one can only find a very small amount to eat? I try to say a prayer before the regular meals of the day, but I was curious as to what is expected in case of any emergencies as named above. Thanks in advance for any help.   :)
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Offline OrthodoxSitkan

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 11:22:07 PM »
Glory to Jesus Christ!

When I eat between main meals I forgo the prayers of introduction and do this:

Lord, Bless!

 (Make sign of the Cross)+Through the Prayers of Our Holy and God Bearing Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ Have Mercy on us and save us!.  Amin!

+Christ God bless the food and drink of your servants for you are holy, now and ever and unto Ages of Ages.  Amin! +(End with sign of the Cross)

This is a part of my prayer rule and is what I do in these cases.  Of course at home during main meals you would face the Icon Corner standing, which is at the Eastern wall in the dining room or kitchen of your house, (whatever room you eat meals in) and begin the prayer for meals which is contained in most Orthodox books of prayer.  Also one should bring holy water with them to sprinkle on their food to drive away all maledictions and curses.  This should be done at main meals as well.  My God mother would also burn incense at meals, and bless the meal with holy water and incense.  Of course if you have a priest or monk they have priority for asking the blessing.  In the home without clergy or monastics, the head of the house has first priority in asking the blessing, then the wife, grandfather, grandmother, children, etc.  The father as home-priest, not a priest of the Oblation, but by baptism and chrismation, and head of the domestic church, always has authority in the home and must preside first over all occasions delegating responsibility for prayers as needed ordering his house according to godliness.

In Christ God,



Alexis


Offline Zaxapiac

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 11:25:31 PM »
Eirene pasi.

Regardless of where I am, I usually pray: "Through the prayers of our holy fathers Lord Jesus Christ,Son of God, bless this food and drink of thy servants, for thou art Holy always; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. While praying this I sign the Cross over the food and drink.

in Iesous Christos,
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Offline Ionnis

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 11:33:53 PM »
"If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the chalice.”  -The Divine John Chrysostom

“Till we can become divine, we must be content to be human, lest in our hurry for change we sink to something lower.” -Anthony Trollope

Offline biro

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 11:44:43 PM »
Thanks to everyone.   :)
He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will have no end.

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Offline OrthodoxSitkan

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2010, 12:37:35 AM »
Glory to Jesus Christ!

Happy eating!

In Christ,


Alexis

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 11:37:51 PM »
Hello. I'm still trying to get my head around the Orthodox view of prayer interactions with the non-Orthodox. I understand many believe it is an undue "seal-of-approval" of non-Orthodox worship to participate in a protestant prayer ritual. Is there, however, any issue with saying an Orthodox prayer over one's table if non-Orthodox are attending dinner? What if you, yourself, are asked to deliver a prayer in a non-Orthodox home?

Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 11:38:26 PM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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Offline genesisone

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2010, 08:39:44 AM »
Hello. I'm still trying to get my head around the Orthodox view of prayer interactions with the non-Orthodox. I understand many believe it is an undue "seal-of-approval" of non-Orthodox worship to participate in a protestant prayer ritual. Is there, however, any issue with saying an Orthodox prayer over one's table if non-Orthodox are attending dinner? What if you, yourself, are asked to deliver a prayer in a non-Orthodox home?

Thank you.
Here's my general rule, quite my own with no claims to be authoritative in any way.

My wife, children, and grandchildren are all Protestant (daughter-in-law is RC). When my wife and I are at home or dining alone at a restaurant, I will lead in prayer with wording familiar to Protestants, but will cross myself. When my grandchildren are present, I will usually let one of them "say grace", but will still in my own home or when I am hosting at a restaurant, cross myself. Sometimes especially on special days like Christmas and Easter, I will lead using wording that is more familiar to the Orthodox, but will still omit anything that I know will cause discomfort among those present.

When I am in a non-Orthodox home, or being entertained by them at a restaurant, if they lead in prayer, I will not cross myself, but will usually make the sign of the cross discreetly with hand or even fork over the food. If a non-Orthodox should ask me to lead in prayer, knowing that I am Orthodox, I will pray as an Orthodox Christian. So I suppose it can be said that I try to follow the "house rules".

To respect a non-Orthodox prayer is not the same thing as participating in it.

Offline jah777

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2010, 09:08:11 AM »
I'm still trying to get my head around the Orthodox view of prayer interactions with the non-Orthodox. I understand many believe it is an undue "seal-of-approval" of non-Orthodox worship to participate in a protestant prayer ritual. Is there, however, any issue with saying an Orthodox prayer over one's table if non-Orthodox are attending dinner? What if you, yourself, are asked to deliver a prayer in a non-Orthodox home?

Thank you.

When visiting my Protestant parents and in-laws and they lead the prayer before a meal, I interiorly say the full Orthodox prayer before meals and make sure I still cross myself and the food before eating.  I also make sure the children cross themselves and their food in such a case.  I try to avoid like the plague hand-holding during prayers, which to me seems extremely inappropriate for an Orthodox person to do with a non-Orthodox person in prayer.  I have no idea where this practice came from but it reminds me of demonic séances.  It also does not seem appropriate to me to say “Amen” to a prayer offered by a non-Orthodox.  The point is not to cause a scene or make a big show, but simply to remain faithful to your Orthodox faith and not improperly mingle in spiritual ways with those outside of the Church, since in doing so you may open yourself up to bad influences.   

If I am out to eat with co-workers at lunch, I usually say the beginning of the pre-meal prayer on my way to the table and the end of the prayer at the table, crossing myself and the food and drink before eating.  I do not in this case want to skip any of the prayer, yet I also do not want to draw excessive attention to myself by standing there by the table with my eyes closed for a prolonged period of time. 

If we have non-Orthodox family over for dinner, or if my non-Orthodox grandparents or other family members ask us to say the prayer before the meal, we just say the proper Orthodox prayers without addition or subtraction.  Sometimes my in-laws will ask our 6 yr old to say the prayer and she will also say the full Orthodox prayers that precede the meal.  We are Orthodox Christians after all.  If they wonder why we pray a certain way, that’s a good opportunity to explain to this to them.  If they do not like how we pray, they can say their own prayers if we are in their home, or they can cover their ears if they are in our home.       



 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 09:10:52 AM by jah777 »

Offline JLatimer

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2010, 01:11:04 PM »
Quote
anything that I know will cause discomfort among those present.

Like what? Just curious.
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2010, 01:44:57 PM »
Thank you all for answering; your approaches are humble and kind ways to handle such situations and I'll keep them in mind when I next find myself there.

I'm also curious as to what would cause discomfort that GenesisOne omits; I can think of a few things he may have in mind.  Things that begin with "through the prayers of our..."? References to the One Church? I don't want to leave those out, but I understand the pressure.

I was curious and went looking around, and read some of the prayers on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's website. They have a simple dinner prayer:

"The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and they who seek the Lord shall praise him; their hearts shall live to the ages of ages.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ our God, bless the food and drink of your servants, for you are holy always, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen."

This seems pretty "discomfortless" (if I may make up a word!)
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 01:52:50 PM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

Πάντα μὲν καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς
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Offline genesisone

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2010, 03:44:52 PM »
Quote
anything that I know will cause discomfort among those present.

Like what? Just curious.
Anything that might seem to be a reference to the Saints is the main one. Evangelicals (at least the ones in my usual circle) are under the impression that all prayers are offered and therefore should end "in Jesus' name. Amen." I won't do that, but to invoke "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" would cause cringing and raised eyebrows for sure, so I word my prayers to avoid that exact phrase while still making my prayer Trinitarian.

Anything that sounds [ugh]Catholic[/ugh] would be deemed unacceptable. I know it's hard to believe, but anti-Catholicism is surprisingly strong around here. In my city I know many former Catholics who are now "saved" and have become "Christian". My wife in particular is very anti-Catholic, for reasons that remain a mystery to me. She had a really hard time at our son's wedding last year.

I'm under specific instructions from my priest to do what I can to avoid offending her, without denying my own faith, of course. Makes it a very difficult and narrow rope to walk on. It's even tricky to "bless the food" as one of her radio preachers has taught that only people can be blessed, not objects. And no, I'm not defending her. Just trying to show what some of us have to deal with.

Offline JLatimer

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2010, 05:50:35 PM »
Quote
as one of her radio preachers has taught that only people can be blessed, not objects.

It's amazing what these guys will come up with lol
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 10:56:36 PM »
how do you remember?!  when I go to eat, it only occurs to me to pray when I'm half way through the meal.  I guess I have the gluttenous habit of "digging in".

Offline Thankful

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2010, 11:17:21 PM »

I was curious and went looking around, and read some of the prayers on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's website. They have a simple dinner prayer:

"The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and they who seek the Lord shall praise him; their hearts shall live to the ages of ages.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ our God, bless the food and drink of your servants, for you are holy always, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen."

This seems pretty "discomfortless" (if I may make up a word!)

In our previous "life" (charismatic/pentecostal), this kind of prayer would make people uncomfortable.  Any kind of memorized anything would do that.  Everything was supposed to be spontaneous and "free" -- signaling the "real" presence of the Holy Spirit (or so we thought).  Just to let you know.  :)

Offline Cognomen

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2010, 12:37:55 AM »
how do you remember?!  when I go to eat, it only occurs to me to pray when I'm half way through the meal.  I guess I have the gluttenous habit of "digging in".

Trevor, I actually had to write myself a reminder note and place it on the dining table.  My endorsement of this method and its effectiveness is revoked for meals eaten outside of the home.    :)
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: The prayer before meals
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2010, 01:10:23 AM »

In our previous "life" (charismatic/pentecostal), this kind of prayer would make people uncomfortable.  Any kind of memorized anything would do that.  Everything was supposed to be spontaneous and "free" -- signaling the "real" presence of the Holy Spirit (or so we thought).  Just to let you know.  :)
Ah, I see what you mean, Thankful.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

Πάντα μὲν καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς
Τοῖς δὲ μεμιασμένοις καὶ ἀπίστοις οὐδὲν καθαρόν