A prayer to prepare for Communion
I am grateful you commanded your servants to form themselves into churches—and for the wise and gracious way you have provided for the edification of your church, in holiness and love.
I adore my Savior, who instituted his supper as a memorial of his dying love—a bond of that union he wants his people to preserve through the ages.
Lord, you see how sincerely I give myself to you. And if I now hesitate about this particular manner of doing so, it is not because I would allow myself to break any of your commands, or to refuse any of your favors.
You know any hesitation only comes from uncertainty about my duty—a fear of profaning holy things by an unworthy approach to them.
It is a good sign that you have given me a reverence for your commands, a desire for you, and a willingness to devote myself wholly to serving you. You are inclined to receive me, and believe I am not unqualified for an ordinance which I highly honor and earnestly desire.
So here is my humble request: Would you teach me what I need to do? Show me the way I should take? “Test me, O Lord, and prove me, examine my heart and mind.”
Am I hiding any secret sin? Do I make a habit of resisting your precepts? You know that I do not.
So let me not wrong my own soul by avoiding your sacred table for no reason. But grant me this, Lord: may your word, providence, and Spirit together make my way plain.
Scatter my remaining doubts. If you see they have no just foundation, fill me with more assured faith and a stronger love.
Plead your cause with my heart so I cannot delay. If any doubt remains in my mind, replace it with loving concern to avoid whatever displeases your holiness, and then to fully practice what you desire.
May the vision of Christ crucified be so familiar to my mind, and may a sense of his dying love so powerfully motivate me, that I may never question that I am one of those for whom he intended this feast of love!
Even now, joined to your church in spirit and in love—though not as close as I could wish—I pray that you would “save your people and bless your heritage. Be their shepherd, and carry them forever” (Psalm 28:9).
May every Christian church flourish in knowledge, holiness, and love. May all your priests be clothed with salvation, that by them you may make your people joyful.
May many people come to your churches everywhere, flying to them “as a cloud, and as doves to their windows” (Isaiah 60:8).
May your table be filled with guests (Matthew 22:10), and may all that “love your salvation say, ‘Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant’ ” (Psalm 35:27).
I earnestly pray that all who have received Christ Jesus the Lord may be careful to walk in him. May we all be prepared for the gathering of your firstborn children.
And may we one day join in a nobler and more immediate worship where all these symbols and shadows will be laid aside—where even these memorials are no longer needed.
Instead, a living and present Redeemer will be the everlasting joy of those who have delighted to commemorate his death in his absence. Amen.
Philip Doddridge, “A Prayer to Prepare for Communion,” in Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans, ed. Robert Elmer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019), 141–143.