A Eucharistic Prayer from Apostolic Sources

17:00

 
Thank You, O Lord God , our Heavenly Father,
For You have richly spread this Table in our midst,
Furnished with the holy bread and wine
Which You, our kindly Maker, provide.

Nothing, Lord, have we to offer as atonement;
Nothing can we win by our own merit.
But You, in Your great love and grace
Provide a full redemption
By the one offering for ever of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord
Who by His death in our place
Has fully paid our debt,
Has banished all our wrong,
And has clothed us with His perfect righteousness.

We thank You that, as Christ has declared, ‘It is Finished!’:
Your justice is satisfied,
Our sins are fully forgiven,
You have raised us from death to new life in Jesus
And now myriad mercies divine flow to us through the Crucified
In whom you have accomplished Your Eternal Purpose.

We thank and praise You that
From the cursèd Cross
The Blessings of Heaven flow to us
And Peace has come to us
Through the merit of Christ’s priceless blood.

Here at Your Table,
Through the Holy Spirit and the blessing of Christ
May we experience the effectiveness of that Finished Work
As we Partake of Christ’s own body and blood.

Father, feed us with Jesus, the only true nourishment of our souls, the Bread of Life.
Lift to our lips the Wine of Heaven, the Blood of Christ,
Which fills us with the richest of joys.

Your Table, O Lord, is an eternal Throne
For throughout eternity we shall feed on the Living Bread of God
Feasting in the love and joy of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Yet already here we inherit all that heaven can bestow
As we feed on Christ who is our Life and Health.

As we eat His flesh and drink His blood
May we be conformed to His image
And grow firm and unmovable in Him.

May we see Christ afresh in the Breaking of the Bread.
May we taste and see that the Lord is good.

And so, we who gather round Your Table
Would evermore worship, praise and glorify You,
O God of our Salvation,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

Amen.
Just a few notes:

1) Perhaps the idea of a written-down Pentecostal prayer sounds a bit odd in our day and age, but it wasn't particularly that odd an idea to the early Apostolics here in the UK, as we can see from the prayers they printed and published in the Riches of Grace and other sources. The Holy Spirit is not confined to spontaneity; He can work ahead of time in preparing and writing. Furthermore, there's a particular helpfulness with a written prayer for use at the Table. I'm not at all suggesting that we must bind ourselves to a set form of words (other than Christ's Words of Institution of course!), but I do think it can be helpful at times to have a prepared prayer (and would even argue that set prayers are a very biblical thing). Even if one never prayers a set form of words, it can be helpful to have the example as a template (after all, most of our elders seem just to be thrown into taking the Table without any teaching about how or what should be involved). In actual fact, the eucharistic prayer tends to be the one prayer at the Table which I do extemporise - but I pray it after three set prayers: the Lord's Prayer, the Preface/Sanctus (although there's quite often some extemporaneous prayer in the Preface), and the Prayer of Humble Access. And, by the way, extemporaneous prayer doesn't always mean heart-felt; sometimes extemporaneous prayer can mask a mad panic to try to make sure everything that needs to be included is included. Likewise, a set prayer doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't heartfelt.

2) The content of this prayer comes almost entirely from older Apostolic writings, most of it stemming from either D.P. Williams or Ian Macpherson, but with other contributions coming from Edwin Williams (who was an elder in Ty Gwyn, Llanelli in the 1930s), and one or two elements from oral tradition (and particularly from the example of such godly older men as E.H. Williams). Some of the material comes from Welsh, and so is somewhat paraphrased and, alas, loses much of its beauty in translation.  

3) Unlike the eucharistic prayers of many other traditions, the eucharistic prayer in the Apostolic Church doesn't contain Christ's Words of Institution (the Verba). This isn't because the Verba are considered unimportant, but quite the contrary: Christ's Words are considered much more important than the prayer. It is Christ's Words which effect the consecration, and so they follow the prayer, immediately before partaking of the communion. They are to be set apart as the Words of Christ, and not hidden amongst mere human words in a prayer. They are a Gospel proclamation from God to us, not merely a narrative account of which we remind God in prayer. So that's why there's no institution narrative in the prayer. (By the way, this is something which came out of the Reformation and is still a feature of traditional Lutheran liturgies of the Table.)


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The Tenets of the Apostolic Church


The Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of the Persons therein.

The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His second coming, and millennial reign upon earth.

Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.

The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion and of the Lord's Supper.

The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.

Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.

The possibility of falling from grace.

The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.