Prayer for Thursday 3 June 2021 (Corpus Christi)

Listen to a service of Prayer for 3 June 2021 (Corpus Christi), including a reflection on the gospel reading


O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.


Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament
you have given us the memorial of your passion:
grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood
that we may know within ourselves
and show forth in our lives
the fruits of your redemption;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Psalm 116.10-17

How shall I repay the Lord
for all the benefits he has given to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call upon the name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.

O Lord, I am your servant,
your servant, the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.

I will offer to you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call upon the name of the Lord.

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,

In the courts of the house of the Lord,
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

John 6.51-58

Jesus said, ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’


This day in the Church’s calendar is designated The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion, or Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is the last of the big festivals of the Church’s year in the sequence which leads us from Advent through Christmas to Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost. Like Pentecost, Corpus Christi reminds us that, although Jesus returned to his Father in heaven, God still lives on earth.

The festival of Corpus Christi has its origins in Belgium in the early 13th century. By the early 14th century it had become a major holiday and the cause of much civic and spiritual celebration in England. Solemn processions through the streets of towns and villages were soon complimented by the staging of Mystery Plays, the telling of Bible stories in large-scale dramatic presentations. This spirit of celebration and thanksgiving continued until the 1559 Act of Uniformity. On 24 June 1559 the English prayer book became law and the observance of Corpus Christi was outlawed.

Since the Reformation, and despite its radical intent, Corpus Christi has remained an important festival in the Roman Catholic Church. In more recent years its celebration has been revived in many Anglican parishes, and not just those in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. It has regained its place in the modern Anglican calendar as The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion.

Holy Communion is the central act of worship in the Anglican Church. Holy Communion was given to us by Christ himself at the Last Supper, along with his new commandment of love and his demonstration of humble service in the washing of the disciples’ feet. The service of Holy Communion engages all believers in an act of remembrance that strengthens and sustains them as they live out their lives in an increasingly secular world. Holy Communion, a service which engages all of our senses, the totality of our humanity, brings us into the divine mystery of Christ’s presence at all times and throughout all ages. Holy Communion is the time when Christ reaches out and touches us with his healing and nourishing love.

Let us pray that, as we receive the bread and the wine, we might be ever conscious of Christ’s true presence in our lives. And, may that awareness give us strength to live the life of faithful discipleship every moment of every day.

Prayers of intercession

Let us pray with thanksgiving to God, the giver of our spiritual food and of all grace.

Grant to your Church the continual grace of the sacraments. Keep all Christian people faithful to your command of remembrance, recalling the price of our redemption and the source of our life. Teach us to serve you in others, bringing to them the bread of life and the message of salvation.

May the people of the world be brought to know and honour the life that is offered in the bread and the wine. Give wisdom to all in authority, that they may rule as those who know that the true power comes from above.

Keep us, our families, friends and neighbours, faithful to the truth we have been taught and grateful for the grace we have received. May we and all who are near to us be sustained by the living bread.

Have mercy on those whose bodily hunger keeps them from caring for the things of the spirit. Come to them in their need, relieve their suffering and make their lives whole.

We give thanks for the departed who have been fed with the bread of life in this world and have gone to their rest. Raise them up and grant them the promised eternal life.

We offer our prayers, rejoicing in the communion that unites us with Christ.

Prayer for the week

May we accept this day at your hand, O Lord,
as a gift to be treasured,
a life to be enjoyed,
a trust to be kept,
and a hope to be fulfilled;
and all for your glory.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

The Grace

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


Christ bids us break the bread
and share the cup he gave,
in token of the blood he shed
for those he died to save.

O Christ, once lifted up
that we might be forgiven,
we take the bread and drink the cup
and share the life of heaven.

Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926)