Grace At Meals
The custom of giving thanks at meals. Not an exclusively Christian practice, it has its roots in the religious instincts of humanity, witnessing to the solemnity which attaches to every meal as an act of maintaining life. The Jews consecrated their meals with the “blessing,” the Mishna describing the procedure (cf. Deut. 8:10; 1 Sam. 9:13). Our Lord followed the custom (e.g., Matt. 14:19; 15:36), as did the early Christians (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:30; 1 Tim. 4:3-5). In the second century(Paedagogus 2.4) and Tertullian (Apologeticum 39) witness to the practice, and the church generally has kept the custom. W.T. Brooke (Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology) gives examples of metrical graces.