Prayers Before Holy Communion
1st Prayer – of St. Basil the Great
Lord and Master, Jesus Christ our God, Wellspring of life and immortality, Maker of everything visible and invisible, co-eternal and co-everlasting Son of the everlasting Father: In the abundance of Your goodness You were incarnate in these latter times, were crucified and buried for us ungrateful and thankless people. Through Your own Blood You have renewed our nature, corrupted by sin. Immortal King, though I am a sinner, accept my repentance, incline Your ear to me and hearken to my words.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before heaven and before Your face and I am not worthy to gaze upon the immensity of Your glory. For I have provoked Your goodness, I have transgressed Your commandments and I have not obeyed Your ordinances. But, Lord, since You do not remember evil, but are long-suffering and have great mercy, You have not given me over to destruction for my lawlessness, but have continually awaited my conversion. For You, O Lover of mankind, have said through Your Prophet, “I desire not the death of a sinner, but that he may repent and live.” You do not wish, Master, that the work of Your hands should perish, neither do You take pleasure in the perdition of men, rather, You desire that all should be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth.
Therefore, even I, though I am unworthy of heaven, earth and this transitory life, having given myself completely to sin, becoming a slave to pleasure and defiling Your Image – yet being Your creation – I despair not of my salvation in my wretchedness. But, emboldened by Your infinite compassion, I draw near.
Therefore, Loving Christ, receive me also, as You received the harlot, the thief, the publican and the prodigal. Take away the heavy burden of my sins, You who takes away the sins of the world, who heals all human infirmity, who calls to Yourself those who are weary and heavy-laden, granting them rest. You came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Cleanse me from every stain of flesh and spirit and teach me to achieve perfect holiness in fear of You, that, receiving my share of Your sacred Gifts, I may be united to Your holy Body and Blood and may have You dwell and abide in me with the Father and Your Holy Spirit.
Yes, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, may the partaking of Your most pure and life-giving Mysteries bring me neither to condemnation, nor to the unworthy partaking of them. Grant that I, even unto my final breath, may receive my share of Your sacred Gifts without condemnation and thereby receive communion with the Holy Spirit as provision for the journey to eternal life and an acceptable defense before Your dread judgement seat. O Lord, grant that I, together with all Your elect, may also be a partaker of the immaculate good things which You have prepared for those who love You, in whom You abide and are glorified unto the ages. Amen.
2nd Prayer – of St. John Chrysostom
O Lord my God, I know that I am not worthy that You should come under the roof of the house of my soul, for it is entirely desolate and fallen into ruin and You cannot find in me a worthy place to lay Your head. But, as You humbled Yourself from on high for our sake, humble Yourself now to the measure of my lowliness.
As You took it upon Yourself in the cave to lie in a manger for dumb animals, so take it upon Yourself now to enter into the manger of my irrational soul and into my defiled body. Since You did not disdain to enter and eat with sinners in the house of Simon the leper, so take it upon Yourself to likewise enter also into the house of my humble, leprous and sinful soul. As You did not cast out the harlot, a sinner much like me, who came and touched You, so have compassion on me, a sinner, coming to touch You. Since You did not abhor the kiss of her sin-stained and unclean mouth, abhor not my mouth which is stained even worse and is more unclean than hers as well as my sordid, unclean and shameless lips, nor my even-more-unclean tongue.
Let the fiery coal of Your most-pure Body and of Your precious Blood bring me the sanctification, enlightenment and strengthening of my humble soul and body, a relief from the burden of my many transgressions, protection against every operation of the devil, an averting and hindering of my base and evil habits, a mortification of my passions, an accomplishment of Your commandments, an increase in Your divine grace and the attainment of Your kingdom. For I do not come to You, O Christ my God, in presumption, but having been given full confidence by Your ineffable goodness, I approach, lest I stray far from Your communion and become prey for the wolf of souls.
Therefore, I beseech You, O Master, who alone are holy, sanctify both my soul and body, my mind and heart and my emotions and affections. Renew me entirely, implant the fear of You in my being and make Your sanctification indelible within me. Be my helper and foundation, govern my life in peace and make me worthy to stand at Your right hand with Your Saints. Through the prayers and intercession of Your most pure Mother, the pure and Bodiless Powers that always serve You, and of all the Saints who have been well-pleasing to You from the ages. Amen.
3rd Prayer – of St. Simeon the Translator
O Only pure and spotless Lord, Jesus Christ, Wisdom of God, Peace and Power: Moved by Your ineffable mercy and love for all mankind, You took upon Yourself our mortality from the chaste and virginal blood of the one who wondrously conceived You through the coming of the Holy Spirit and by the good favour of Your Eternal Father. In that nature You took it upon Yourself to undergo Your life-giving and saving passion: the Cross, the nails, the spear and death itself. Mortify in me the soul-destroying passions of the body. As You despoiled the dominion of hades in the tomb, bury with beneficence in me the evil devices of the devil and scatter the spirits of evil. You raised the fallen Adam through Your life-bearing Resurrection — so raise me, for I am immersed in sin, and counsel me in the ways of repentance.
You made divine the flesh, You assumed and honoured it on Your throne at the right hand of the Father in Your glorious Ascension. By the communion of Your holy Mysteries make me worthy of a place at Your right hand with the saved. You made Your sacred Disciples precious vessels by the coming of the Comforter, the Spirit. Confirm me, also, to be a receptacle of His coming. You promised to come again to judge the world in righteousness — grant that I go to meet You in the clouds with all Your Saints. For You have made and formed me that I may unceasingly praise and chant hymns to You with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
4th Prayer – of St. John of Damascus
O Lord and Master, Jesus Christ our God, You alone have the power to absolve sin. Because You are good and the lover of mankind, forgive all my iniquities committed in knowledge or in ignorance. Make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Your divine, glorious, pure and life-giving Mysteries, that I may incur neither punishment nor an increase in my sins, but receive cleansing, sanctification, a pledge of the life and the kingdom to come, a rampart, an aid, a turning-aside of my adversaries and the blotting out of my many transgressions. For You are a God of mercy, compassion and love for mankind and we glorify You: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
5th Prayer – of St. Basil the Great
O Lord, I know that I partake unworthily of Your pure Body and Your precious Blood, my Christ and my God. Yet emboldened by Your compassion I come to You for You have said: “He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him.” Therefore, be merciful, O Lord and do not rebuke me, a sinner, but deal with me according to Your mercy. And let these Holy Gifts afford me healing, cleansing, enlightenment, protection, salvation, sanctification of soul and body, the averting of every fantasy, evil deed and operation of the devil which by design works within my members. Let them give me confidence and love for You, amendment of life and perseverance, an increase in perfection and virtue, the fulfillment of Your commandments, communion of the Holy Spirit, a provision for the journey to eternal life and an acceptable answer at Your dread judgement-seat, but not for judgement or condemnation. Amen.
6th Prayer – of St. Symeon, the New Theologian
From lips defiled and heart impure, from unclean tongue and sin-stained soul, receive my pleas, O my Christ. Neither overlook my words, my way of speech, nor my boldness. Grant me, O my Christ, the boldness to say what I wish, and teach me all that it is fitting for me to do and say. More than the harlot have I sinned, who, when she learned where You resided — she brought myrrh, boldly came there and anointed Your feet, O my Christ, my God and Master. As You, O Divine Word, did not cast her out when she came in eagerness of heart, abhor me not. Rather give Your feet, I pray, to my embrace and my kiss, and with the torrent of my tears, as with an ointment of great price, let me dare to anoint them.
Purify me, O Word, in my own tears and cleanse me with them. Grant remission of my errors, and grant me forgiveness. You know the multitude of my sins. You also know my wounds, and see my bruises. Yet You know my faith, You see my eagerness and hear my sighs. From You, O my God, Creator and Redeemer, not one tear is hidden, nor even part of one. Your eyes know my imperfection, for in Your register are found those things which are yet unfashioned. Behold my lowliness, behold how great my weariness is.
And then, O God of all, grant me release from all my sins, that with a clean heart and conscience filled with holy fear and contrite soul, I may partake of Your most pure and spotless Mysteries, which enliven and deify all who eat and drink with a pure heart. For You have said, O my Master, that: “He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him.” O my Master and my God, your every word is true. For whoever shares in these divine and deifying graces is not alone, but is with You, O Christ, the triple-radiant Light who enlightens the whole world.
Thus, may I not remain alone, without You, O Giver of life, my breath, my life, my joy, the salvation of the world. I therefore have drawn near to You with tears and a contrite soul. I beg to receive deliverance from my sins from You, and that I may partake without condemnation of Your life-giving and spotless Mysteries, and that You may abide in me, a wretch, as You have said: Lest I be found without Your grace and the tempter should craftily seize me and having attracted me —would lead me astray from Your deifying words. Therefore I fall down before You and fervently cry to You: as You received the prodigal and harlot who came to you, so also receive me, the prodigal and profligate who approaches You with a contrite soul.
I know, O merciful One, that no one has sinned against You as I have, O Saviour, nor done the deeds that I have done. Yet this I know also: that neither the greatness of the offenses nor the multitude of the transgressions surpasses the great love for mankind of my God. In the tenderness of Your mercy You cleanse and brighten those who fervently repent, and make them partakers of the light. And, strange as it is to Angels and to the mind of man, You often converse with them as with Your familiar friends. These things make me bold and give me wings, O my Christ. Thus, having confidence in Your great good deeds for us, I partake both rejoicing and trembling — receiving fire though I am but grass, and behold, a strange wonder, I am refreshed with dew, and not burnt, just as in ancient times the burning bush was not consumed. Therefore, thankful in mind and heart, thankful indeed, in every limb, with all my body and all my soul I worship, magnify and glorify You, my God: for You are blessed now and to all the ages. Amen.
7th Prayer – of St. John Chrysostom
O Lord, Jesus Christ, my God: absolve, remit, and pardon me my transgressions, and forgive me all the sins which I have committed before You — whether of word, or deed, or thought, voluntary or involuntary, in knowledge or in ignorance — forgive me everything as You are good and love mankind; through the prayers of Your most-pure Mother, Your spiritual servants, the holy angelic powers, and all the Saints who have pleased You in all ages.
Count me worthy to partake without condemnation of Your holy and pure Body and most-precious Blood for the healing of soul and body and the purification of my evil thoughts. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
8th Prayer – of St. John Chrysostom
I am unworthy, O Master and Lord, that You should enter under the roof of my soul; but as You do will as the Lover of mankind to dwell in me, I dare to approach You. Command, and I will open the doors which You alone created, that You may enter in Your love for mankind, as is Your nature, that You may enter and enlighten my darkened thought. I believe that You will do this, for You did not drive away the sinful woman when she came to You with tears, neither did You reject the publican who repented, nor did You spurn the thief who acknowledged Your kingdom, nor did You leave the repentant persecutor to himself; but all of them that came to You in repentance You numbered among Your friends, O You who alone are blessed, always, now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
9th Prayer – of St. John Chrysostom
O Lord Jesus Christ my God, loose, remit, cleanse, and forgive me, Your sinful, wretched and unworthy servant, my transgressions and offences and fallings into sin, which I have committed against You from my youth until the present day and hour, whether consciously or unconsciously, whether by words or deeds, or in thought or imagination, in habit, and in all my senses. And through the intercessions of Her that seedlessly gave You birth, the most pure and Ever-Virgin Mary, Your Mother, the only hope that makes not ashamed, and my mediation and salvation; grant me without condemnation to partake of Your immaculate, immortal, life-giving, and awesome Mysteries, for remission of sins and life eternal; for sanctification and enlightenment, strength, healing, and health of both soul and body; and, to the rooting out and complete destruction of my evil reasonings and intentions and prejudices and nocturnal phantasies of dark and evil spirits. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, and the honour, and the worship, with the Father and Your Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
10th Prayer – of St. John of Damascus
I stand before the doors of Your temple, yet I do not put away evil thoughts. But You, O Christ God, who justified the publican, and had mercy on the Canaanite woman, and opened the doors of paradise to the thief, open to me the depths of Your love for mankind, and receive me as I come and touch You, as You received the sinful woman and the woman with an issue of blood. For the one received healing easily by touching the hem of Your garment, while the other, by clasping Your most pure feet, carried away absolution of sins. And I, a wretch, daring to receive Your whole Body, let me not be consumed by fire; but receive me, as You received them, enlighten my spiritual senses, burning up my sinful errors; through the intercessions of Her that seedlessly gave You birth, and of the heavenly hosts, for blessed are You unto the ages of ages. Amen.