Day 157: Praying in Restaurants

Acts 27:33-41 :

While the day was coming on, Paul begged them all to take some food, saying, “This day is the fourteenth day that you wait and continue fasting, having taken nothing. Therefore I beg you to take some food, for this is for your safety; for not a hair will perish from any of your heads.” When he had said this, and had taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it, and began to eat. Then they all cheered up, and they also took food. In all, we were two hundred seventy-six souls on the ship. When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. When it was day, they didn’t recognize the land, but they noticed a certain bay with a beach, and they decided to try to drive the ship onto it. Casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time untying the rudder ropes. Hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. But coming to a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground. The bow struck and remained immovable, but the stern began to break up by the violence of the waves.

Paul appears to have been made aware that the time of their crash was close and that they should eat for strength. Notice that they didn’t just say, God promised, so let’s not eat out of faith in God. Instead, the natural world worked in concert with the spiritual to achieve God’s goals. After all, God is the maker of the natural world and He does expect us to use our minds and bodies.

There were 176 people on the ship but that didn’t keep Paul from praying before the meal! I don’t believe that praying before eating is to be a legal ritual that Christians must do, but we should not feel ashamed to pray in a restaurant. We don’t see that Paul prayed publicly before every meal with unbelievers but we see here that he didn’t shy away when he wanted to do it. Chances are that many others are relieved when we pray in public and pray along. There are many places in the world where Christian prayer is not legal and these brave Christians take great risks just to meet together. Those of us who have the freedom should take advantage of it.