Preparation for Holy Communion
These prayers are best read before coming to Church to receive Holy Communion – perhaps the night before or in the morning before leaving home, if not rushed.
May your holy Body be for me the bread of life everlasting, compassionate Lord,
and may your precious Blood be a protection from all illness.
May your most precious Body and Blood be to me as fire and light, my Saviour,
consuming the substance of sin and burning the thorns of my passions,
and enlightening the whole of me to worship your Divinity.
The Lord is my shepherd, and I will lack nothing.
In a place of green pasture, there has he made me dwell,
beside the water of rest has he nurtured me.
He has converted my soul,
He has led me on the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
For though I walk in the midst of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff have comforted me.
You have prepared a table before me, in the presence of those who afflict me.
You have anointed my head with oil, and your cup fills me abundantly.
Your mercy will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
PRAYER OF ST BASIL THE GREAT
I know, Lord, that I partake of your pure Body and precious Blood unworthily,
and that I am guilty, and eat and drink judgement to myself,
not discerning your Body and Blood, Christ my God.
But encouraged by your mercy I approach you, who said
He who eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood abides in me and I in him.
Have compassion therefore, Lord,
and do not make an example of me a sinner,
but deal with me according to your mercy;
and let these holy gifts be to me for healing,
purification, illumination, protection, salvation
and sanctification of both soul and body;
for the averting of every fantasy and evil deed
and activity of the devil working in my members through my thoughts;
for confidence and love towards you,
for amendment of life, for security,
for increase of virtue and perfection,
for keeping of the commandments,
for communion with the Holy Spirit,
for sustenance on the journey of eternal life,
and for an acceptable defence at your fearful judgement seat,
not for judgement or condemnation.
PRAYER OF ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
I am not worthy, Master and Lord,
that you should enter under the roof of my soul;
but since you in your loving kindness wish to dwell in me,
with courage I approach.
You bid me open wide the gates which you alone have created,
that you may enter and enlighten my darkened mind.
I believe that you will do this,
for you did not turn away from the Harlot who approached you with tears,
you did not reject the Tax Collector who repented,
you did not drive away the Thief who recognised your kingdom,
you did not abandon the Persecutor who repented of what he was;
but all who were brought to you by repentance
you established in the choir of your friends,
you who alone are blessed,
always, now and to the endless ages. Amen
PRAYER OF ST JOHN OF DAMASCUS
Master, Lord Jesus Christ our God,
who alone have authority to forgive sins:
as a good and loving God,
overlook all my faults, committed in knowledge or in ignorance,
and make me worthy to receive without condemnation
your divine, glorious, pure and life-giving mysteries,
not for punishment, or for an increase of sins,
but for purification and sanctification,
as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come;
as a defence and a help,
for the overturning of enemies,
and for the wiping out of my many transgressions.
For you are a God of mercy and compassion and loving kindness,
and to you we offer glory,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayers for Holy Communion During the Divine Liturgy
The following prayers may be said during the Divine Liturgy and while the priest is preparing to receive and distribute Holy Communion
PRAYER OF ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
I believe, Lord, and I confess
that you are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God,
who came into the world to save sinners,
of whom I am the first.
I also believe that this is indeed your pure Body,
and this is indeed your precious Blood.
I ask you, therefore, have mercy on me and forgive me my transgressions,
voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed,
in knowledge and in ignorance;
and make me worthy, uncondemned, to partake of your pure mysteries,
for the forgiveness of sins and life eternal. Amen
VERSES OF ST SYMEON METAPHRASTES
Behold, I approach for holy Communion;
Maker, burn me not as I partake;
For you are fire burning the unworthy;
But cleanse me from every impurity.
Of your mystical Supper, Son of God, receive me today as a partaker;
for I will not speak of the mystery to your enemies;
I will not kiss you as did Judas;
but as the Thief do I confess you;
Remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.
Tremble, mortal, as you behold the deifying Blood;
For it is a burning coal consuming the unworthy.
The Body of God both deifies and nourishes me;
It deifies the spirit and wondrously nourishes the mind.
You have smitten me with yearning, Christ,
and by your divine love you have changed me;
but consume my sins with immaterial fire,
and make me worthy to be filled with delight in you,
that leaping for joy, Gracious One,
I may magnify your first and second comings.
Into the splendour of your Saints how shall I, the unworthy one, enter?
For if I dare to enter the bridal chamber, my clothing betrays me,
for it is not a wedding garment,
and I shall be bound and cast out by the Angels.
Cleanse the defilement of my soul, Lord,
and save me in your loving kindness.
Loving Master, Lord Jesus Christ my God,
let not these holy gifts be to me for judgement through my unworthiness,
but for the purification and sanctification of both soul and body,
and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come.
For it is good for me to cling to God,
and to place in the Lord the hope of my salvation.