The last few words of the Bible include the words, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Perhaps the woes and distress we note in our world today encourage us to pray for the Lord’s return. When he returns, he will set all things right as he intended from the beginning. So come, Lord Jesus!
The words are more familiar to me and to so many others for another reason. When we sit down to a meal together, we invite Jesus to come and be our guest. I confess that I say the words so often that I don’t often think when I speak them. It’s just a table prayer. I’m not happy with my thoughtless repetition of an invitation for Jesus to join us as we eat together. As I move away from my absent-minded words and think more carefully about my prayer, I discover so many things to remember.
First, I’m inviting Jesus to be the guest at my table. He promises to come not to bring what I deserve and not only for my hollow prayers but also for so much I hide from those who are seated with me. He knows all, yet I dare to ask him to sit with me. He comes at my invitation with grace, forgiveness, and a smile—happy to be an invited guest. It’s such an honor for me and those with me; I should bend down on my knees in humility, trying to cover the filthy rags of my meager efforts to honor him (Isaiah 64:6).
I pray that he blesses our meal so that we may rise from the table and be lights in this world.
Instead, we sit with empty plates, ready to eat and talk together. Once more I think carefully about what I pray, “Let these gifts to us be blessed.” The aroma from the food announces God’s gifts to us. It is another example of “our daily bread”—so welcome once again. How often have I sat, anxious to eat my fill. How often have I eaten more than my fill! I sometimes take it all for granted. But a little reflection reminds me that so many in our world do not have the meals we all enjoy so regularly. My gratitude grows, bringing with it a desire to help those who do not have what I do.
I am bold enough to ask that my Guest do more than provide food for us. I ask him to sustain us through this meal so we have the strength and vitality to live as his disciples. This meal—and all the others—make it possible for us to worship him and to love others. That’s his will for us (Matthew 22:37-39). So I pray that he blesses our meal so that we may rise from the table and be lights in this world—not only to help the unfortunate but also to share the good news of his grace with others.
One more thought comes to mind. “These gifts”? I’m thinking it’s more than the food. Pause for a moment to think about the people who share this meal. They too—all of them—are his gifts to us. The spouse who shares our journey through life. The children who fill us with joy and sometimes concern in unequal doses. Grandparents and other family members who join us as guests at our table. The friends who season our lives. I’m bold enough to ask that all these people also be a blessing to me and to each other.
So I pray, with thanksgiving and a little more thought now, “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.”
Author: John A. Braun
Volume 108, Number 11
Issue: November 2021