Heavenly Father, accept our thanksgivings for all the means of grace which Your mercy has provided. They are the joy and strength of our souls. We see in them Your loving purpose. It is Your will that spiritual life should flourish and abound within us. Help us by Your Holy Spirit to use them all duly, devoutly, gratefully, to Your praise and our exceeding profit!
This day we would especially magnify Your goodness for the ordinance of the body and blood of our beloved Lord. Truly Your Word is fulfilled, that You will prepare for Your people a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined.
We confess that we are utterly unworthy to gather up the crumbs under Your table. How unworthy then are we to sit down as guests at this heavenly table. But we come not trusting in ourselves—but wholly relying on the merits of Your dear Son, and hiding all our unworthiness beneath the robe of His glorious righteousness. We hear the tender invitation. We marvel at the wondrous grace. We cannot hesitate. In faith and love we come. Give us a gracious welcome. Refresh and strengthen us with the rich bounties of this feast.
We draw near to behold marvelous things. By Your Spirit enliven our faith rightly to discern, duly to appreciate, spiritually to apprehend. Thus may we richly grow in grace.
We reverently look. Bread is broken. Wine is poured forth. Write deeply on our hearts, the precious meaning. Jesus Christ is evidently set forth crucified before us. In the broken bread we spiritually see His broken body. In the poured out wine we spiritually see the shedding of His blood.
While we humbly gaze, may we anxiously ponder, “Why, blessed Jesus, why did You thus die?” May the precious answer sound through every part of our hearts and souls, “I die—that you may not die. I lay down My life—to purchase your life. I present Myself as a sin-offering to—expiate all your sins. My blood thus streams—to wash out all your guilt. The fountain is thus opened in My side—to cleanse you from all impurity. I thus endure your curse. I thus pay your debt. I thus rescue you from all condemnation. I thus satisfy divine justice for you!” See in these elements My body given unto the shame and sufferings of the cross for you.
Father, we know that this table is ordained to exhibit these precious truths. May we tightly grasp the breadth and length of this glorious purpose. May our faith expand, and strengthen, and grow mightily. May all fears and doubts be slain. May delighted assurance pervade us. May we truly believe, that full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, are forever made. May we glory more and more in Christ our everlasting salvation.
But we are called to draw nearer yet. We hear the voice of our great Lord, “Eat, drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved!” We gladly come forward to obey. We extend the hand. We take the bread. We receive the cup. We eat. We drink.
Thus we humbly testify before all heaven and before all earth, that we do personally and for ourselves, gladly, in faith, and reverence, and love, receive our blessed Jesus to be the life, the strength, the nourishment, the joy, the delight of our souls. We profess that we feed on Him and Him crucified, as all our hope, salvation, and desire.
Blessed Jesus, at Your table may all the benefits of Your cross and passion, may all the glories of Your accomplished redemption, be sealed to our souls. We do all that Your ordinance prescribes in remembrance of You.
We remember Your eternal love. We remember Your boundless grace. We remember Your infinite compassion. We remember Your agony and bloody sweat. We remember all that You have done for us. We remember Your call to this most hallowed ordinance. And we pray that You will remember us.
As we participate, may we truly feel that we are one with You, and You are one with us. As the outward elements nourish our bodies, may Your indwelling presence invigorate and bless our souls. Thus feed us until we hunger no more. We look to the day when You, the Lamb in the midst of the throne, shall feed us and lead us unto living fountains of water! Hear. Answer. Amen.
O You Lord and Savior of our souls, in obedience to Your gracious calling, we have this day partaken of the holy bread, and drank the holy cup. We thank You that on the same night in which You were betrayed You did institute this holy ordinance, ever to exhibit Your dying love. We thank You that You have revealed that in it Your people shall show forth Your death until Your return. We thank You that the high privilege has been ours of thus gazing on You as making atonement for us on the cross.
Hear our prayer, that all the blessings of this sacred service may be sealed to our souls. May our faith be mightily revived, our hopes invigorated, our souls strengthened for more devoted work. Send richer and larger supplies of Your Holy Spirit, that we may keep constantly in devout remembrance, what solemn vows are ours, what high profession we have made. Increase our watchfulness. Stir up more vigorous diligence. Grant that all who see us may take knowledge of us—that we have been with Jesus. May conformity to His image be our conspicuous stamp. May it be seen in us that Your ordinances are mighty means of grace; that You do indeed visit the souls of all who partake in faith; that Your presence is truly granted to their longing hearts; and that the flame of adoring love is largely brightened.
Help us in our future days, if future days are ours—to ponder the holy spectacle of this sacred rite. We have seen the greatness of the price whereby You have redeemed us from the torments of the lost, from the vengeance due unto our sins, and from the curse of the infracted law. May we never forget that we are not our own—but that we are bought by Your most precious blood. May we ever glorify You in our bodies and in our spirits, which are Yours.
By the clear eye of faith—we have looked to You, sealing us unto the great day of redemption. We have received the assurance of pardon, of adoption, of joint-heirship with You, of heaven, of eternal life, and of participation in all the glory which the Father gave to You. May we live henceforth as those who have thus received the pledge of the everlasting covenant. Forbid it that the follies, the trifles, the baubles of this polluted world, should occupy our minds or captivate our affections. May our walk be high and heavenly, even as our pledged inheritance.
We have this day renewed a most solemn covenant. Feeding on the memorials of Your broken body, we have avouched God to be our God, and we have bound ourselves to serve Him in faithfulness, sincerity, and truth all the days of our lives. As Your obedient children, may we fashion ourselves no more after the course of this evil world—but according to the strictest rules of Your blessed Word. We know that all Your promises You will surely keep and perform. May all our promises to You be also kept inviolate.
We have this day, looking to the cross, bewailed our hateful sins. We have confessed their number, their magnitude, their aggravations. We have testified that the remembrance is grievous, and that the burden is intolerable. Arm us with holy resolve to fight more valiantly against them, and never to look back to the paths which we have so solemnly forsaken.
We know that our walk must still be amid the wily snares and constant assaults of the devil. His hatred is most keen against those who avow themselves to be Yours. After Your most holy baptism, he approached You with his deadliest arts. May we be on our guard. As You conquered, so may we conquer—using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Blessed Lord, hear our sacred prayer. Draw nearer, oh, draw nearer to us. Enable us to walk worthy of You—Your love—Your death—Your promises. May we live answerably to all our pledges and our vows.
Preserve us as Your portion, Your spouse, Your treasure. And unto You, who are able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of Your glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.