I grew up in a Christian culture where most people would say some sort of prayer like this before eating.  But at the same time, I grew up in a culture that prized fried food and dessert.  While I love my family and a lot of aspects of Midwestern culture, it made me think about the disconnect between what we were asking God to do for us and what we were actually doing.

In some ways, we were a lot like the college freshman who played World of Warcraft for the entire semester and then asks God to help him with his final tests.  That freshman isn’t taking responsibility for his own actions.  Instead, he asks God to override his irresponsibility with divine power.

Let’s take the example of the family who asks God to “bless this food and help it nourish our bodies” at a pizza buffet.  Essentially, what they’re really asking is:

“God, please change the molecular structure of this food we have chosen to eat in the following ways:

1.  Please change the grease into olive oil.

2.  Please change the white crust into whole-wheat crust.

3.  Please drastically decrease the salt content.


Seems insulting, doesn’t it?  Although God has created a world in which we have tons of varieties of fruits and vegetables, we choose instead to eat some extremely processed food.  Then, we even have the nerve to blame God when our bodies fail from eating stuff that God never intended to enter the body.

I’m not a theologian, but I’ve never heard of a principle in which God rewards irresponsibility by divinely stepping in three times a day to alter the molecular structure of foods to our bidding.  God gave us the intelligence to understand science and learn which foods result in becoming healthier and which foods do not.  He expects us to apply that knowledge rather than throwing it out the window and asking him to violate the scientific laws of His creation to suit our own taste buds and cultural preferences.

By all means, pray.  However, never forget that we have to do our part in the equation if we truly desire change.


“It is in vain to expect our prayers to be heard, if we do not strive as well as pray.”  –  Aesop

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”  –  Saint Augustine