The Episcopal Church (TEC) on the Prayer of Humble access

Found here:

A prayer for worthy reception of communion that begins with the statement, “We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness” (BCP, p. 337). It is optional in Rite 1, and not used in Rite 2. It may be said by the celebrant and people after the fraction (and fraction anthem), before the invitation to communion. This prayer first appeared in the 1548 Order of Holy Communion. Its name is from the Scottish Prayer Book of 1637, where it was known as the “Collect of Humble Access to the Holy Communion.” It has a strong penitential emphasis, stating that “We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.”

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship

One comment on “The Episcopal Church (TEC) on the Prayer of Humble access

  1. TomRightmyer says:

    Massey Shepherd’s _Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary_, 1950 notes that the prayer was written for the 1548 Order of the Communion. This was a series of devotions in English placed after the Lord’s Prayer in the Latin Mass. It included a general confession, absolution, comfortable words and this prayer – a Cranmer original.

    The prayer preceded communion in the 1549 book but in 1552 was placed after the Sanctus and before the Prayer of Consecration. It stayed there through England 1662, American 1789 and 1892 books until the American 1928 revision replaced it in its 1548 and 1549 place. That action followed the pattern of the Scottish 1764 revision where it was identified by this name,

    In the late 1950’s it became common to hear the prayer recited by the whole congregation though the rubric says, “Then shall the Priest, kneeling at the Lord’s Table, say, in the name of all those who shall receive the Communion, this prayer following.”

    Rite I services are rare in Western NC, though the 1979 book rubric has, “The following prayer may be said. The People may join in saying this prayer.” And the revisers sought to improve on Cranmer by omitting his “thst our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed by his most precious blood, and”

    The revisers, in dropping the prayer from the almost universally used Rite II, to my mind demonstrated a lack of respect for tradition that approaches _hubris_. But that king of mental attitude has presented problems in other areas of the life of our church and society than Prayer Book revision.

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