An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | V | W | Y | Z

Humble Access, Prayer of

A prayer for worthy reception of communion that begins with the statement, "We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness" (BCP, p. 337). It is optional in Rite 1, and not used in Rite 2. It may be said by the celebrant and people after the fraction (and fraction anthem), before the invitation to communion. This prayer first appeared in the 1548 Order of Holy Communion. Its name is from the Scottish Prayer Book of 1637, where it was known as the "Collect of Humble Access to the Holy Communion." It has a strong penitential emphasis, stating that "We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table."

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.