a prayer for hungry bodies

bread rising on the counter

Bread of Life,

You say we don’t live on bread alone—
yet over and over you demonstrate that you are concerned with the fullness of bellies.

When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt,
you promised to bring them up out of that land,
to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

When they were wandering in the droughty desert,
you spread quail and manna on the ground as if for a feast.

You promise a good land, a land with flowing streams,
with springs welling up in valleys and hills,
a land of wheat and barley,
of vines and fig trees and pomegranates,
a land of olive trees and honey,
a land where we may eat bread without scarcity,
where we will lack nothing.

So why are so many people lacking?
Why the scarcity—
or at least the disparity?
Why are some bellies bursting while others are crying out for food?

God of justice,
forgive us for our complicity in a food system that fails to feed well all people.
Show us how our eating habits,
our shopping patterns,
and our activism
can align with your vision for that good land
and how we can begin to effect change in our communities.

Give us compassion and an eye for those with little or insufficiently nutritious food.
Equip us with wisdom and courage as we work to make changes
to our own habits and to the systems we participate in.
Bless those people and organizations who are already striving
to bring justice to the food system and to provide food for folks who need it,
here in Holland, across the United States, and around the globe.
Be for all of us the bread of life,
the bread that sustains us indefinitely.

We long for the day when all will eat their fill
and will bless you for the good land that you have prepared for us.
We long for the day when all can taste and see that you are good.
Let that day be soon, Lord Jesus.


This prayer was written for and prayed at a showing of the film A Place at the Table. Check out the website to explore some other ways to get involved in making the American food system more just. If you live in the Holland area, the Ottawa County Food Policy Council is a great place to begin.


2 thoughts on “a prayer for hungry bodies

  1. This is a beautiful and powerful prayer. Our women’s Pilgrimage group is discussing an article from Conversations journal called Food for the Soul: Eating as an Act of Justice. We will use this prayer as our closing thought.
    Thank you!

  2. I love this, Grace! I was just having this conversation with a friend yesterday! Thank you for praying this prayer! I will say it over and over again!

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