A Form of Spiritual Communion (BCP)

This service, from the Prayer Book Society, provides a form of Spiritual Communion based on material from the Book of Common Prayer. It is a companion service to An Act of Spiritual Communion, which is developed from Common Worship.

The term ‘Spiritual Communion’ has been used historically to describe the means of grace by which a person, prevented for some serious reason from sharing in a celebration of the Eucharist, nonetheless shares in the communion of Jesus Christ.

The form of prayer below offers Christians an opportunity to give thanks for their communion with him, particularly at times when they would ordinarily be present at the Eucharist.

The Book of Common Prayer instructs us that if we offer ourselves in penitence and faith, giving thanks for the redemption won by Christ crucified, we may truly ‘eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ’, although we cannot receive the sacrament physically in ourselves.

(Church of England, Spiritual Communion and the Coronavirus, 20 March 2020)

You may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, an icon, or a special place.

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

Almighty God,
unto whom all hearts be open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love thee,
and worthily magnify thy holy Name;
through Christ our Lord.

Almighty God,
whose kingdom is everlasting, and power infinite:
Have mercy upon the whole Church;
and so rule the heart of thy chosen servant
Elizabeth, our Queen and Governor,
that she (knowing whose minister she is)
may above all things seek thy honour and glory:
and that we and all her subjects
(duly considering whose authority she hath)
may faithfully serve, honour, and humbly obey her,
in thee, and for thee,
according to thy blessed Word and ordinance;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Ghost
liveth and reigneth, ever one God,
world without end. Amen.

Read the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel of the Day.

We proclaim our faith:

I believe in one God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
Begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of very God,
Begotten, not made,
Being of one substance with the Father,
By whom all things were made:
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven,
And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary,
And was made man,
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried,
And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,
And ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
And he shall come again with glory
to judge both the quick and the dead:
Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost,
The Lord and giver of life,
Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
Who with the Father and the Son together
is worshipped and glorified,
Who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church.
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
And I look for the Resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come.

We make our Intercessions:

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church militant here in earth.

Almighty and everliving God,
who by by holy Apostle hast taught us
to make prayers and supplications, and to give thanks, for all men:
We humbly beseech thee most mercifully
to receive these our prayers,
which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty;
beseeching thee to inspire continually the universal Church
with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord:
And grant, that all they that do confess thy holy Name
may agree in the truth of thy holy Word,
and live in unity, and godly love.

We beseech thee also to save and defend
all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors;
and specially thy servant Elizabeth our Queen;
that under her we may be godly and quietly governed:
And grant unto her whole Council,
and to all that are put in authority under her,
that they may truly and indifferently minister justice,
to the punishment of wickedness and vice,
and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.

Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and Curates,
that they may both by their life and doctrine
set forth thy true and lively Word,
and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments:
And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace;
and specially to this congregation here present;
that, with meek heart and due reverence,
they may hear, and receive thy holy Word;
truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness
all the days of their life.

And we most humbly beseech thee of thy goodness, O Lord,
to comfort and succour all them, who in this transitory life
are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.
And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants
departed this life in thy faith and fear;
beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow their good examples,
that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom:
Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

Spend some time in recollection:

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Maker of all things, Judge of all men:
We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness,
Which we from time to time most grievously have committed,
By thought, word, and deed,
Against thy Divine Majesty,
Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us.
We do earnestly repent,
And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings;
The remembrance of them is grievous unto us;
The burden of them is intolerable.
Have mercy upon us,
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
Forgive us all that is past;
And grant that we may ever hereafter
Serve and please thee
In newness of life,
To the honour and glory of thy Name;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord,
to thy faithful people pardon and peace;
that they may be cleansed from all their sins,
and serve thee with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We rejoice in the Comfortable Words:

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith
unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden,
and I will refresh you.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,
to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith: This is a true saying,
and worthy of all men to be received,
That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the Righteous;
and He is the Propitiation for our sins.

We make our Thanksgiving to God:

It is very meet, right and our bounden duty,
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father,
almighty, everlasting God.
Therefore with Angels and Archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name;
evermore praising Thee, and saying:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts,
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory:
Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

We make our Spiritual Communion, saying one or more of these prayers:

Grant, O Lord Jesus Christ,
that as the hem of Thy garment, touched in faith,
healed the woman who could not touch Thy Body,
so the soul of Thy servant may be healed
by like faith in Thee,
Whom I cannot now sacramentally receive;
through Thy tender mercy,
Who livest and reignest with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Ghost ever one God. Amen.

O Almighty God, who alone cast order
the unruly wills and affections of sinful men;
Grant unto thy people,
that they may love the thing which thou commandest,
and desire that which thou dost promise;
that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world,
our hearts may surely there be fixed,
where true joys are to be found;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee
such good things as pass man’s understanding:
Pour into our hearts such love toward thee,
that we, loving thee above all things,
may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Spend a few moments in meditation upon the fact that God so loved you that He sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world for you.

Glory be to God on high,
and in earth, peace, good will towards men.
We praise thee, we bless thee,
we worship thee, we glorify thee,
we give thanks to thee for thy great glory,
O Lord God, heavenly King,
God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesu Christ;
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father,
have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy;
thou only art the Lord;
thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost,
art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost,
be with us all evermore. Amen.

[This liturgy is inspired by the order for Spiritual Communion for the Anglican Diocese of Melanesia (1916) and the Armed Forces Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (1928)]

[Extracts from The Book of Common Prayer, the rights in which are vested in the Crown, are reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.]