Following the exhortations to prepare for a godly participation in the Lord's Supper, The Book of Common Prayer provides a general confession of sins, a declaration of forgiveness, and 'the Comfortable Words' (biblical texts assuring believers of their forgiveness in Christ). A range of confessions and declarations of forgiveness suitable for use at this point can be found in Resources for Services of the Word, sections 5 and 6. The Prayer Book then goes on to provide another means of preparation in the so-called 'Prayer of Humble Access' (reproduced in modern versions below). Three significant changes have been made with regard to this sequence in the Second Order of Holy Communion in both Australian Prayer Books. First, if the option of having a general confession of sin and declaration of forgiveness at the beginning of the service is chosen, the Prayer of Humble Access functions as the main prayer of preparation for communion. Second, the Comfortable Words and additional biblical texts are moved to introduce this section of preparation, rather than concluding it. Third, even when there is to be a confession and absolution at this point, the Prayer of Humble Access comes first, as a direct response to the words of invitation or an exhortation. Whatever the choice, some form of reflection and congregational prayer is appropriate before the Thanksgiving or Eucharistic Prayer.


We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in your manifold and great mercies.
We are not worthy
so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table.
But you are the same Lord
whose nature is always to have mercy.
Grant us, therefore gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ,
and to drink his blood,
that we may evermore dwell in him,
and he is us. Amen.

An Australian Prayer Book


Merciful Lord, we come here to your table
trusting in your measureless grace and not in our own goodness.
Even though we are not worthy to eat the crumbs under your table,
you are always rich in mercy.
Gracious Lord, enable us by faith
so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ,
and to drink his blood,
that we may be cleansed and forever dwell in him,
and he is us. Amen.

Sunday Services (altered)


Most merciful Lord, your love compels us to come in.
Our hands were unclean, our hearts were unprepared;
we were not fit even to eat the crumbs from under your table.
But you, Lord, are the God of our salvation,
and share your bread with sinners.
So cleanse and feed us with the precious body and blood of your Son,
that he may live in us and we in him;
and that we, with the whole company of Christ,
may sit and eat in your kingdom. Amen.

Common Worship