Common Table Prayer

The Common Table Prayer is probably the best known mealtime prayer among North American Lutherans. Several other variations also exist.

History

The Common Table Prayer was first published in the year 1753 in a Moravian hymnal, Etwas vom Liede Mosis, des Knechts Gottes, und dem Liede des Lammes, das ist: Alt- und neuer Brüder-Gesang. The title was Tisch-Gebetgen, or Table Prayer. There are possibilities that the prayer is from an older text with Lutheran origins. In the Moravian hymnal the prayer is not placed in the “Old Moravian Hymns” chapter or in the eighteenth-century Moravian hymns” chapter. Instead it is placed in the chapter titled “evangelical hymns from the seventeenth century”. Dietrich Meyer put as author of the prayer “author unknown”. In the Evangelisch-Lutherisher Gebets-Schatz or Evangelical-Lutheran Prayer Treasures, the prayer is attributed to Martin Luther, but this is highly speculated.

Mealtime Prayer

Mealtime Prayer

Text and Variations

Original German:

Komm, Herr Jesu; sei du unser Gast;
und segne, was du uns bescheret hast.

English:

Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest;
And bless what you have bestowed.

or alternatively, a Moravian translation,

Come, Lord, Jesus, our Guest to be
And bless these gifts bestowed by Thee.

There are several variations common today for the second line. In English there are other second lines such as “Let these gifts to us be blessed,” “Let Thy gifts to us be blessed,” “Let these Thy gifts to us be blessed,” “Let these foods to us be blessed,” “And let this food by Thee be blessed, “let these gifts to us be blessed and may our souls by thee be fed ever on the living bread,” and “and bless what you have bestowed to us out of mercy”, and “Bless us and everything Thou hast set before us.” Also in German there are several other versions such as “und segne, was du uns bescheret hast,” and “und segne, was du uns aus Gnaden bescheret hast”. A second “verse” may also be added: “Blessed be God who is our bread; may all the world be clothed and fed.” Moravians often add “Bless our loved ones everywhere and keep them in Thy loving care.”

Sometimes the verse of Psalm 136:1 is added at the end. “O give thanks unto/to the Lord, for He is good: For His mercy/love endureth/endures forever.” This part of the prayer is prayed either right after the first part of the prayer before a meal or separately from the first part of the prayer at the end of a meal.


Catholic Table Prayer

This prayer is often spoken by families in the Roman Catholic Church.

Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts,
Which we are about to receive, from thy bounty,
Through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen.

God is Great

This prayer is a great one for young children to pray. For very small children, start with just speaking the first two lines and then saying Amen.

God is great, God is good.
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands we all are fed.
Thank you Lord for our daily bread.
Amen.


Blessed Are You

This prayer for children and adults is a great reminder that God is the giver of all good gifts. This prayer is especially meaningful around Thanksgiving.

Blessed are you, O Lord God, King of the Universe, for you give us food to sustain our lives and make our hearts glad; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Be Present at Our Table

This meaningful prayer was originally sung and can be spoken together as a grace 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


Lord, We Thank You

This prayer reminds us of the blessing of our food and friends and family to share it with together.

Lord, we thank You
for the food before us,
the friends beside us,
the love between us;
And Your Presence among us.
Amen.


Come Lord Jesus

This common table prayer is a meaningful prayer inviting God into every aspect of our lives.

Come Lord Jesus be our Guest,
Our morning joy, our evening rest,
And with our daily bread impart,
Your love and peace to every heart.
Amen.


Oh Give Thanks

This simple, meaningful prayer can be spoken at the beginning or end of a meal.

Oh give thanks unto the Lord,
for He is good,
and His mercy endures forever.
Amen.

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