Here are five great prayers you can use before Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
Prayer for Humility
Let us now bow humbly before You at this time, where we are about to receive Communion or the Lord’s Supper. We have no reason to have any pride Father, especially knowing that You resist those who are prideful (James 4:6). Help us to remain humble at the receiving of the bread and wine, because of what they symbolize, which gives significance to their meaning. Jesus, when we receive the bread and wine (juice), let us stay humble in recognizing that You paid such a high price that You did not owe, and shed your precious blood so that we might be saved. Righteous Father, let that sink deep into our hearts and make us grateful for the cost Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, paid. As we gaze upon Your beauty Jesus, let us receive the bread and wine with humility, knowing You are present with us, but also acknowledging that You made our redemption possible by your own precious blood and life, so we ask Your blessing on our Communion Lord, and to receive it for Your glory and in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.
Prayer for Examining
I do pray that those who have come to the Lord’s Supper have examined themselves beforehand so that they do not drink the wine (grape juice) or eat the bread in an unworthy manner, meaning that we don’t forget to esteem the precious body and blood of our Savior, and discerning it’s meaning for us today. I remember Jesus promising that the next time He partakes of Communion, it will be with those who dine with Him in the kingdom, as part of the celebration at the wedding feast of the Lamb of God with His bride, the church. That day we will partake of the meal in His presence is what we yearn for, and why Paul may have said that as long as we partake of the bread and wine, we proclaim His coming, so let us do just that, but do so with a heart that is willing to be examined to see if there is any unconfessed sin in our lives, and if there is Father, please forgive us so that we might have peace of mind when taking the bread and the wine, and we truly look forward to partaking of this meal in the very presence of Jesus Christ someday, and it is in His name we pray, Amen.
Prayer for Exalting
Great God in heaven,
Just to be able to fellowship with You and with Christ at Communion is such a privilege, that we cannot even express it in words. How grateful we are God, that You passed over our sins because of the shed blood of Christ, poured out for those who have trusted in Him. Help us to exalt You oh Lord in this service and to praise, honor, thank, and give You glory for our being able to commune with You because of Jesus Christ. If not for the precious blood of the Lamb of God, which has cleansed us from all unrighteousness (2nd Cor 5:21; 1 John 1:9), we would still be in our sins and only deserving Your wrath, but for some unknown reason God, You chose us to become a people for Your own self, and that You have said, “I will be your God, and you shall be my people.” What a glorious thing to contemplate, especially since not even one of us are good and not even one has ever sought you (Rom 3:10-11). You sought us and bought us, and now we give You thanks and ask Your blessing on the bread and wine, and we ask this in the name of and for the glory of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Prayer for Remembering
Father God in heaven,
Help us to remember the agony that Jesus endured before going to Calvary and not just on the cross. He knew beforehand that He would be bearing the sins of the world. How heavy that must have felt, we can only imagine how abandoned and forsaken He must have felt. I don’t think any of us can really know what our precious Savior endured for us on the cross. The shame, the beatings, the torture, and the agony of being crucified for something He didn’t do, and dying for us who were the ones that deserved this wrath. He grieved the sin that He bore so much that He sweat drops of blood. How hard was it for our sinless Savior to bare our sins? What price, what glory, what passion! Thank You Lord for this tremendous privilege. Great God, help us to keep sober minds and quiet spirits as we partake of the Lord’s Supper, understanding the suffering of the Savior’s passion for this meal to even be possible. Let this sink deep into our minds and cause our hearts to realize just how great a price He paid for those of us who had no hope outside of Christ. We know we should take stock of our lives well before Communion to see if there is any area in our life that is not right with You. Help us to see this as a somber, yet joyful occasion, but that every person should come with a clean conscience beforehand. And Father, help us all to remember the supreme cost that Jesus Christ paid, but as His Father, You too suffered greatly, and we can’t imagine what that was like for You Father, and so in the mighty name of Jesus, we ask a blessing on this Communion, and for Your glory, it is in Jesus Christ’s holy name we pray, Amen.
Prayer for Unity
You have called us to be a people for Your own self, and so help us to unify in spirit and in purpose, to do the things You have appointed us to do (Eph 2:10), and this includes partaking and participating in the Lord’s Supper, as a body, which we are commanded to do. Since this is Your body, the church (Matt 25:34-40), we know that You are present with us, and that You are in each and every one of us; You are all and in all. Let us remain quiet in spirit and in movement God, showing deep reverence for such a sacrament. Help us stay focused on the bread and wine, and to think about these symbols, Lord. The body and the blood, both poured out as a drink offering, for a once-and-for-all sacrifice (Heb 10:10). We are overwhelmed by such amazing grace God, that I cannot even express it in a words or prayer! How wonderful are Your ways and awesome are Your blessings; we thank You Lord for the bread and wine and what these mean to us, and what they tell us about our eternity. But more so, what these meant for Christ (John 3:16), as there was no greater love ever shown Lord, in all of human history, and so in a spirit of unity we all now partake of the wine and the bread, and give You the glory for Your amazing grace, in Jesus’ most beloved name I pray, Amen.
Whatever prayer you pray before and/or after the Lord’s Supper or Communion, pray to God with a deep sense of humility, make it be a time of self-examination, and strive to live a life that glorifies God, by proclaiming to others, all of the marvelous things He has done for us, and finally, pray that you come together as a body, a community of believers, in fellowship with one another, having a relationship with one another, but most of all, to be in fellowship with the Living God, our Father; Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and God the Holy Spirit, for without which, we couldn’t even have a relationship with God.
Read more about Communion and the Lord’s Supper here: How to Prepare For Taking Communion
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Today is widely regarded as the best Sunday of the month at Grace Fellowship Church. We gather in the morning for our regular morning service but afterward, instead of going our separate ways, we enjoy a potluck fellowship lunch. Following that, we have a brief second service that culminates in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. I thought this was an appropriate prayer for any of us who are preparing to enjoy Lord’s Supper on this Lord’s Day. It is drawn from The Valley of Vision.
God of all good,
I bless thee for the means of grace;
teach me to see in them thy loving purposes
and the joy and strength of my soul.
Thou hast prepared for me a feast;
and though I am unworthy to sit down as guest,
I wholly rest on the merits of Jesus,
and hide myself beneath his righteousness;
When I hear his tender invitation
and see his wondrous grace,
I cannot hesitate, but must come to thee in love.
By thy spirit enliven my faith rightly to discern
and spiritually to apprehend the Saviour.
While I gaze upon the emblems of my Saviour’s death,
may I ponder why he died, and hear him say,
‘I gave my life to purchase yours,
presented myself an offering to expiate your sin,
shed my blood to blot out your guilt,
opened my side to make you clean,
endured your curses to set you free,
bore your condemnation to satisfy divine justice.’
Oh may I rightly grasp the breadth and length of this design,
draw near, obey, extend the hand,
take the bread, receive the cup,
eat and drink, testify before all men
that I do for myself, gladly, in faith,
reverence and love, receive my Lord,
to be my life, strength, nourishment, joy, delight.
In the supper I remember his eternal love,
boundless grace, infinite compassion,
agony, cross, redemption,
and receive assurance of pardon, adoption, life, glory.
As the outward elements nourish my body,
so may thy indwelling Spirit invigorate my soul,
until that day when I hunger and thirst no more,
and sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.
Why is it Called the Lord’s Supper or Communion?
The Lord’s Supper is also called “the Lord’s table” (1 Corinthians 10:21), “communion,” “cup of blessing” (1 Corinthians 10:16), and “breaking of bread” ( Acts 2:42 ). In the early Church it was called also “eucharist,” or giving of thanks (Matthew 26:27), and generally by the Latin Church “mass,” a name derived from the formula of dismission, Ite, missa est, i.e., “Go, it is discharged.”
The account of when Jesus instituted this ordinance of communion is given in Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:24-26.
What is the Purpose of Communion?
- To commemorate the death of Christ: “This do in remembrance of me.”
- To signify, seal, and apply to believers all the benefits of the new covenant. In this ordinance Christ ratifies his promises to his people, and they on their part solemnly consecrate themselves to him and to his entire service.
- To be a badge of the Christian profession.
- To indicate and to promote the communion of believers with Christ.
- To represent the mutual communion of believers with each other.
The elements used to represent Christ’s body and blood are bread and wine. The kind of bread, whether leavened or unleavened, is not specified. Christ used unleavened bread simply because it was at that moment on the paschal table. Wine, and no other liquid, is to be used (Matthew 26:26-29). This is a permanent ordinance in the Church of Christ, and is to be observed “till he come” again. Adapted from Easton’s Bible Dictionary
The primary biblical text on the nature and meaning of the Lord’s Supper/Table and Communionis 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. Here are ten brief observations on what we see in this text.
1) The Lord’s Supper is primarily (but not exclusively) designed to elicit or to stimulate in our hearts remembrance of the person and work of Jesus: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:25).
2) This remembrance is commanded. Participation at the Lord’s Table is not an option. Prolonged absence from it is spiritually unhealthy and willful neglect of it may be grounds for church discipline.
3) This remembrance entails the use of tangible elements: bread and wine. It isn’t enough simply to say, “Remember!” The elements of bread and wine are given to stir our minds and hearts. The physical action of eating and drinking is designed to remind us that we spiritually “ingest” and depend upon Jesus and the saving benefits of his life, death, and resurrection. Just as food and drink are essential to sustain physical existence, so also the blessings and benefits that come to us through the body and blood of Christ are paramount to our spiritual flourishing.
4) It is a personal remembrance. We are to remember Jesus. The focus isn’t on Abraham or Moses or Isaiah. The focus is no longer on the Jewish Passover or the night of his betrayal or anything else. The focus is Jesus. “Do this in remembrance of ME” (1 Cor. 11:25).
5) In this remembering there is also confession. In partaking of the elements we declare: “Christ gave his body and blood for me. He died for me.” This is one among many reasons why I reject the practice of paedo-communion (the giving of the elements of the Table to infants). If one cannot and does not personally and consciously confess that the bread and wine symbolize the body and blood of Jesus sacrificed for sinners, he/she should not, indeed must not, partake of them.
6) In this remembering we also proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes. This, then, is not merely an ordinance that looks to the past. It is an ordinance of hope that points to the future.
7) To partake of the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner (v. 27) is to take it without regard to its true worth, not yours. To partake unworthily is to come complacently, light-heartedly, giving no thought to that which the elements signify. I. H. Marshall explains:
“In some Christian circles today the fear of partaking unworthily in the Supper leads to believers of otherwise excellent character refraining from coming to the table of the Lord. When this happens, Paul’s warning is being misunderstood. The Lord’s Supper is the place where the forgiveness of sin is proclaimed and offered to all who would receive it. Paul’s warning was not to those who were leading unworthy lives and longed for forgiveness but to those who were making a mockery of that which should have been most sacred and solemn by their behaviour at the meal” (116).
To partake in an “unworthy manner” thus entails at least three things: (a) calloused disregard for others in the body of Christ (see vv. 20-22); (b) an attempt to combine participation at pagan (demonic) feasts with participation at the Lord’s table (see 1 Cor. 10:14-22); and (c) flippant disregard for what the elements represent (vv. 23-26).
8) To be “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (v. 27) is to treat as common or profane something which is sacred. The Lord’s Supper is not just another meal.
9) Hence, we are to “examine ourselves” (v. 28). We are to test our motives and attitudes as we approach the table to be certain we are partaking for the right reasons and with the right understanding of what the elements represent. This is yet another argument against paedo-communion. If one cannot obey this Pauline command one is not prepared or qualified to partake of the elements.
10) Finally, failure to do so may lead to divine discipline (1 Cor. 11:29-34). Such chastisement from the Father is in order that believers may be spared the condemnation that comes to the unbelieving world. Some in Corinth had already suffered the discipline of God (“weak and sick”); some had even died physically (“sleep”). And this was an expression of God’s gracious commitment to preserve his people “so that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32b).
Why Do Protestant and Catholic Churches View Communion Differently?
A Communion Prayer
Lord Jesus, I bow before you in humility and ask You to examine my heart today. Show me anything that is not pleasing to You. Reveal any secret pride, any unconfessed sin, any rebellion or unforgiveness that may be hindering my relationship with You. I know that I am Your beloved child, having received You into my heart and life and having accepted Your death as penalty for my sinfulness. The price You paid covered me for all time, and my desire is to live for You.
As I take the bread representing Your life that was broken for me, I remember and celebrate Your faithfulness to me and to all who will receive You. I can’t begin to fathom the agonizing suffering of Your crucifixion. Yet You took that pain for me. You died for me! Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for Your extravagant love and unmerited favor. Thank You that Your death gave me life—abundant life now, and eternal life forever. As You instructed Your disciples, I, too, receive this bread in remembrance of You.
And in the same way, as I take this cup representing Your blood poured out from a splintered cross, I realize that You were the supreme sacrifice for all my sin: past, present, and future. Because of Your blood shed for me, and Your body broken for me, I can be free from the power and penalty of sin. Thank You for Your victory over death. You took the death that I deserved. You took my punishment. Your pain was indeed my gain. And today I remember and celebrate the precious gift of life You gave me through the blood that You spilled.
Each time I take communion, Lord, I want to recommit my life, my heart, my thoughts, my everything to You. Fill me today with Your powerful Spirit. As I leave this place, help me to hold this fresh remembrance and the story that never grows old close to my heart. Help me to share its message faithfully as You give opportunity.
In Your Precious name, amen.
Adapted from A Prayer Before Taking Communion by Rebecca Barlow Jordan
This article originally appeared on SamStorms.com. Used with permission.
Sam Storms is an Amillennial, Calvinistic, charismatic, credo-baptistic, complementarian, Christian Hedonist who loves his wife of 44 years, his two daughters, his four grandchildren, books, baseball, movies, and all things Oklahoma University. In 2008 Sam became Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Sam is on the Board of Directors of both Desiring God and Bethlehem College & Seminary, and also serves as a member of the Council of The Gospel Coalition. Sam is President-Elect of the Evangelical Theological Society.
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 31, 2017
This article is part of our larger resource library of terms important to the Christian faith. From heaven and hell, to communion and baptism, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about theological terms and their meaning.
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