As my understanding of spirituality shifts further from the external to the internal, I have new appreciation for certain aspects, such as blessings.
Having heard since I was born people say grace to bless the food, I always understood it as an external invocation to God to come from wherever He’s hanging out to give extra fantastic goodness to what we were about to eat. The aspect of how corrupt, or at best neutral, everything is until we beg for blessing and receive it, or not, depending on God’s whim, never sat well with me. Pride? Ego? Who knows.
Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:4-5: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the invocation of God in prayer.”
At the outset, everything God creates is good. It is good in and of itself, whether or not any human ever says or intends anything with regard to it. The thing, say it’s corn on the cob, is already blessed, as Buddha would point out, by the sunshine, by the rainwater, by the insects that helped pollinate it or the animals who scattered the seed or the human who harvested it. All the energy that’s gone into it becomes Oneness, the whole world comes together in unified effort for the food in front of us. That is Love. That is God. What other blessing could possibly be required?
But Paul says that the prayer is important. Not for the food, but for us. In Romans 14:14 Paul says “I know and am convinced in the lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; still, it is unclean for someone who thinks it unclean.”
The prayer is for the benefit of the eater, not to create a blessing within the food, because that is already there. But to prepare oneself, body-mind-soul, to receive the indwelling blessing. To embrace it. To allow it to transform them into Oneness.
The power of the mind joins with the power of the Spirit.
Just like the placebo effect has real results, so as we are convinced that things are good, wholesome, healing, blessed, nourishing, so their inherent and natural effect on us is amplified.
It is not your lips making noises that brings blessing from wherever. It is your own heart opening to receive the blessings that already fill our world – this is the prayer.