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The Lord’s Supper Prayer of Thanksgiving: John Knox Again

25 August, 2008

Our friend ‘Barks’ really appreciated the last post’s prayer from Knox’s Book of Common Order for Scotland. There’s plenty more where that came from — here’s just one more example.

In the ancient baronial mansion of Calder House, in West Lothian, there is a portrait of John Knox with this inscription:

The first Sacrament of the Supper given in Scotland after the Reformation, was dispensed in this hall.

That was in 1556, and this was Knox’s prayer after the sermon and institution/exhortation for the Supper (itself very moving and profound), as they all gathered together around the Lord’s table for the first time:

O Father of Mercy, and GOD of all consolation! Seeing all creatures do acknowledge and confess thee as Governour and LORD: It becometh us, the workmanship of thine own hands, at all times to reverence and magnify thy godly Majesty. First, for that thou hast created us in thine own image and similitude: But chiefly in that thou hast delivered us from that everlasting death and damnation, into the which Satan drew mankind by the means of sin, from the bondage whereof neither man nor angel was able to make us free.

We praise thee, O LORD! That thou, rich in mercy, and infinite in goodness, hast provided our redemption to stand in thine only and well-beloved Son, whom of very love thou didst give to be made man like unto us in all things, sin excepted, in his body to receive the punishment of our transgression, by his death to make satisfaction to thy justice, and through his resurrection to destroy him that was the author of death; and so to bring again life to the world, from which the whole offspring of Adam most justly was exiled.

O LORD! We acknowledge that no creature is able to comprehend the length and breadth, the depth and height of that thy most excellent love, which moved thee to show mercy where none was deserved, to promise and give life where death had gotten the victory, to receive us in thy grace when we could do nothing but rebel against thy justice.

O LORD! The blind dullness of our corrupt nature will not suffer us sufficiently to weigh these thy most ample benefits; yet, nevertheless, at the commandment of JESUS CHRIST our Lord, we present ourselves at this his table, which he hath left to be used in remembrance of his death, until his coming again: to declare and witness before the world, that by him alone we have received liberty and life; that by him alone thou dost acknowledge us thy children and heirs; that by him alone we have entrance to the throne of thy grace; that by him alone we are possessed in our spiritual kingdom to eat and drink at his table, with whom we have our conversation presently in heaven, and by whom our bodies shall be raised up again from the dust, and shall be placed with him in that endless joy, which thou — O Father of Mercy! — hast prepared for thine elect before the foundation of the world was laid.

And these most inestimable benefits we acknowledge and confess to have received of thy free mercy and grace, by thine only beloved Son JESUS CHRIST: for the which, therefore, we thy congregation, moved by thine Holy Spirit, render all thanks, praise, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Then, following the Supper, he finished:

Most merciful Father, we render to thee all praise, thanks, and glory, for that it hath pleased thee, of thy great mercies, to grant unto us, miserable sinners, so excellent a gift and treasure, as to receive us into the fellowship and company of thy dear Son JESUS CHRIST our Lord, whom thou hast delivered to death for us, and hast given him unto us as a necessary food and nourishment unto everlasting life.

And now, we beseech thee also, O heavenly Father, to grant us this request, that thou never suffer us to become so unkind as to forget so worthy benefits; but rather imprint and fasten them sure in our hearts, that we may grow and increase daily more and more in true faith, which continually is exercised in all manner of good works; and so much the rather, O LORD, confim us in these perilous days and rages of Satan, that we may constantly stand and continue in the confession of the same, to the advancement of thy glory, who art GOD over all things, blessed for ever.

So be it. Amen.

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3 Comments
  1. 30 August, 2008 10:28 am

    wow. how would it have been to sit in his church during the Lord’s Supper! Knox’s prayer really drives home the beautiful reality of Christ’s presence during his absence. i need to read more Knox.

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