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Be Present at Our Table

Full Text

Be present at our table, Lord;
be here and everywhere adored;
thy creatures bless, and grant that we
may feast in paradise with thee.

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Scripture References


Be Present at Our Table

Additional Prayers

Optional table blessing
Blessed are you, Lord, our God,
giver of every good and perfect gift.
As we receive this gift of food and fellowship,
we praise you for Jesus, our Lord—
the bread of life, that gives life to the world.
By your Spirit, help us to be nourished
in body and soul, in life and death,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
— Lift Up Your Hearts (

A Prayer to Jesus Christ
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, you host us at the holy supper.
Be here and everywhere adored.
You came not for the few, but for the many.
Be here and everywhere adored.
You are the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours,
but also for the sins of the whole world.
Be here and everywhere adored now and forever. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Be Present at Our Table

Tune Information

G Major



Be Present at Our Table

Hymn Story/Background

The early Methodist John Cennick is best remembered today for this simple table grace, first published in his Sacred Hymns for the Children of God, in the Days of Their Pilgrimage (1741). Originally titled “Before Meat,” he wrote it in his early twenties after he met the Wesley brothers John and Charles. Ever since, Methodists around the world have sung this prayer to the tune OLD HUNDREDTH, also known as GENEVAN 134, originally set to Psalm 134 in the Genevan Psalter. Since this tune is known around the world, this table grace is accessible to all at home or before any gathering of Christians before a meal.  
— Bert Polman

Author Information

John Cennick (b. 1718; d. 1755) had thought of be­com­ing a sur­vey­or, but af­ter meet­ing the Wes­leys, he joined them in their work. In 1740, he be­came a teach­er at Kings­wood, Eng­land, on the re­com­mend­a­tion of John Wes­ley. Lat­er, he joined the Mo­rav­i­ans and vis­it­ed their head­quar­ters at Herrn­hut, but he spent much of his time as an itin­er­ant evan­gel­ist in Eng­land. Cen­nick’s works in­clude: Sac­red Hymns, for the Child­ren of God in the Days of Their Pil­grim­age, 1741, Sac­red Hymns for the Use of Re­li­gious So­ci­e­ties, 1743, A Col­lect­ion of Sac­red Hymns, 1749, Hymns to the Hon­our of Je­sus Christ, Com­posed for Such Lit­tle Child­ren as De­sire to Be Saved, 1754. Additional works ap­peared post­hu­mous­ly in J. Swert­ner’s Mo­ra­vi­an Hymn Book, 1789.

Composer Information

Louis Bourgeois (b. Paris, France, c. 1510; d. Paris, 1561), in both his early and later years, wrote French songs to entertain the rich, but in the history of church music he is known especially for his contribution to the Genevan Psalter. Apparently moving to Geneva in 1541, the same year John Calvin returned to Geneva from Strasbourg, Bourgeois served as cantor and master of the choristers at both St. Pierre and St. Gervais, which is to say he was music director there under the pastoral leadership of Calvin. Bourgeois used the choristers to teach the new psalm tunes to the congregation.
The extent of Bourgeois's involvement in the Genevan Psalter is a matter of scholar­ly debate. Calvin had published several partial psalters, including one in Strasbourg in 1539 and another in Geneva in 1542, with melodies by unknown composers. In 1551 another French psalter appeared in Geneva, Eighty-three Psalms of David, with texts by Marot and de Beze, and with most of the melodies by Bourgeois, who supplied thirty­-four original tunes and thirty-six revisions of older tunes. This edition was republished repeatedly, and later Bourgeois's tunes were incorporated into the complete Genevan Psalter (1562). However, his revision of some older tunes was not uniformly appreciat­ed by those who were familiar with the original versions; he was actually imprisoned overnight for some of his musical arrangements but freed after Calvin's intervention. In addition to his contribution to the 1551 Psalter, Bourgeois produced a four-part harmonization of fifty psalms, published in Lyons (1547, enlarged 1554), and wrote a textbook on singing and sight-reading, La Droit Chemin de Musique (1550). He left Geneva in 1552 and lived in Lyons and Paris for the remainder of his life.
— Bert Polman
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