An Old Eucharistic Prayer in Contemporary Language

The prayer of consecration in the United Methodist Church’s Service of Word and Table IV (and in the 1964 Methodist Book of Worship which it copies) closely follows the old Book of Common Prayer pattern and retains the archaic language of its predecessors. For those who would like to use the prayer but prefer contemporary language, the following adaptation approximates the original.

I have tried to retain not only the flavor of the original, but its theological themes and points of emphasis as well. Where possible, I have used the original wording. Sentences are shorter, and the resulting grammatical structure required some slight rearrangements for the sake of clarity. I have also slightly altered the order of the petitions in order to better group like-with-like.

This adaptation lacks the classic beauty of the original, but take a look, and see how it otherwise compares.

The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right and proper to do so.

It is indeed right, proper and our sacred duty that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to you, O Lord, Holy Father, almighty and everlasting God.

{Preface of the Day}

Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we praise your glorious name, saying (singing):

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts,
Heaven and earth of full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in your mercy you gave your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death on the cross for our redemption. There he made a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. He established this holy meal as a never-ending memorial of his death and directed us to continue in its observance until he comes again.

In the night in which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and after he gave thanks he broke it, gave it to his disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise, after supper he took the cup, and after he gave thanks he gave it to them and said, “Drink from this, all of you. This is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

We humbly ask you to bless these gifts of bread and wine with your word and Holy Spirit. As we receive them as Christ directed, in remembrance of his passion, death and resurrection, may his divine nature permeate our lives. In your fatherly goodness, forgive our sins and help us to receive in faith all the benefits for which your Son gave his life. We ask this for ourselves and for your whole church. Let all who share in this Holy Communion receive your grace and your blessing.

We offer you ourselves, our souls and bodies, as a holy and living sacrifice, and we pray that you will accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Although we are unworthy, because of our many sins, to offer you anything, still we ask you to accept the praise and worship we bring, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offenses, through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.