It’s true! Praying before meals can actually help you overcome overeating and glorify God. Here’s how simply saying grace can change the way you eat.
One of the biggest struggles women have when they are trying to lose weight is making changes to their eating.
Whether it’s emotional eating, overeating, or being tempted by junk food, there’s no denying that food is an area where we need some extra strength to stay on track.
(These are the 4 steps that took me from calorie counting to food freedom.)
So, I have a simple challenge for you this week.
Before you eat anything, stop to say a blessing.
Whether it’s a snack, a meal, or a dessert, just stop to pray.
How you pray isn’t as important as the fact that you do pray.
- I grew up in a family that sung grace together at mealtime. I had no idea this wasn’t a “normal” thing that every family did, but we still do it every Sunday night at family dinner!
- My husband, Adam, and I hold hands and he prays before our meals when we eat together.
- When I’m alone, I often stop for a moment of silent prayer before I eat.
Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 seconds to pray, just the simple act of stopping to talk to God before you eat is powerful.
At the end of this post, I’ll give you an example of one of my dinnertime prayers if you want some extra guidance, but first, let’s dive into some ways praying can help you overcome overeating!
5 Ways to Use Prayer to Overcome Overeating
#1 – It reminds us to be thankful.
Food is a gift.
When you’ve done a lot of dieting, it’s easy to have a skewed view of food. There are “good foods” (salads, green smoothies, kale chips) and “bad foods” (french fries, donuts, fried chicken).
The emotions we bring to the table (literally) can change the whole experience.
When we are feeling guilty for eating a portion of “bad” food, it can lead us to overeat to punish ourselves for our bad choice or possible overindulge because we have been so strict in our diet.
On the other hand, eating healthy food can feel like a punishment when we’ve categorized them like this. We can feel like a victim ( “Ugh…I have to eat this salad because it’s good for me…”) and that can ruin the experience, too. That often leads us to run to junk food because “we deserve it” for suffering through eating healthy foods.
Instead, I encourage you to start every snack or mealtime with a heart of gratitude.
Thank God for His provision.
Remember that food is kind of like a love language! He gave us food to enjoy, nourish our bodies, and care for us in tangible (and delicious) ways.
The carbohydrates in potatoes give us energy, the vitamin A in bell peppers helps us to see clearly, and the protein in chicken builds our muscles to help us lift kids and groceries.
And it’s okay to thank Him for unhealthy foods, too!
“Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.”
Proverbs 24:13 NIV
Of course, there are boundaries there for our own good, but those sweet things are a gift, too.
There is a lot to be thankful for when you eat and you’ll find that your thankful heart changes the way you eat.
#2 – It brings God to the front of our minds.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
Eating is a way to glorify God, just like exercise can be an act of worship, work can be ministry, and doing dishes can be an act of love.
Living as a Christian doesn’t stop at the door of the church. Your life – the choices you make every single day in the everyday things – is a living sacrifice to God.
Our pastor’s sermon last Sunday was on “Jesus awareness,” just simply being aware that God is with you in every single thing you do every day.
Stopping to pray increases your Jesus awareness and makes eating a holy experience and a lovely way to connect with God.
In the world of emotional eating (which usually leads us to overeat), we often reach for food when we feel:
Guess what helps to calm all of those things? Jesus awareness.
Stopping to pray is another reminder that running to God is much more effective at dealing with those deep emotions than running to food.
He is our ultimate source, not chocolate, of comfort, joy, peace, satisfaction, and all of the things we crave.
#3 – It has the power to stop cravings in their tracks.
When cravings hit, they hit hard and they scream that they NEED to be satisfied and right NOW.
When you stop to pray, you are telling your craving that it is not in charge of your decisions.
In even just those few moments, you are putting space between yourself and that craving, putting food back in its proper place.
You are also bringing God’s strength into the experience and He fights hard for His children!
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
Temptations are strong, but God promises to show you a way out.
Prayer gives you the time to stop and look for that way out and ask Him for guidance if you just can’t see it.
#4 – It reminds you of food’s proper place in your life.
Food is a gift from God and He wants you to enjoy the blessings He gives you.
But there are proper boundaries for everything for a reason, in relationships and in food.
One of the biggest wake-up calls for me was when I realized that my secret eating was out of control. I was sneaking food, binge eating behind closed doors, and hiding food from others so I could have it for myself.
That day, I realized my desire for food had become a character issue.
Food has its purpose. It fuels our bodies, brings people together at the table, and gives us so much joy…but food should not be calling the shots in our lives.
Prayer helps you to be intentional about the type of foods you choose to eat (and how much you eat).
Praying before we eat is a reminder that it is a God-given gift to be enjoyed, but we should be the ones consuming the food, it shouldn’t be consuming us.
#5 – It reminds you of your identity
Prayer not only reminds us of who God is, but also who we are in Him.
Like I mentioned earlier, we often reach to food to fill those gaps in our hearts where we feel alone, powerless, and out of control.
We may feel fat, ugly, unlovable, weak, beyond repair, and like a mistake, but those are all lies from the enemy.
- You are never alone. God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
- You are never powerless. I may be powerless on my own, but God renews my strength and gives strength to the weary. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
- Your life is never out of control. God is always in control and He is always working for your good. (Romans 8:28)
- You are a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
- You are chosen. (1 Peter 2:9)
- You are valuable. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
- You are forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
- You are free. (Romans 6:18)
You don’t have to rely on Cheetos and chocolate to fill your gaps. Jesus has already done that.
You can be confident in who you are, knowing that food you are using to fuel and nourish your body is helping you to live out a powerful purpose that God uniquely create you to fulfill.
An Example of Praying Before Meals
Heavenly Father, thank You for today. This is the day that You have made and I will rejoice and be glad in it! Bless this food to my body and bless the hands that prepared it. You are so good to me, always showering me with abundant provision. Help me to use this meal to take care of my body well, as a temple for Your Spirit. Remind me to turn to You to fill my gaps instead of food. Help me to live passionately and purposely for You, serving and loving those around me well and glorifying You in all of my thoughts, words, and actions. I love You, God. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.