John Wesley’s Ritual for Communion

The following ritual for “The Communion” is from “The Sunday service of the Methodists in North America” (pp. 131–139). It is lightly edited (e.g., “Holy Ghost” is changed to “Holy Spirit”; “thou,” “thy,” etc. is changed to “you,” “your,” etc., except in the Lord’s Prayer). Headings (e.g., “The Invitation”) are added. If you identify any errors in the text, please email contact@holyjoys.org.

The Invitation

The Elder shall say to them that come to receive the Holy Communion,

You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in  love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.

Confession of Sin

Then shall this general Confession be made by the Minister in the Name of all those that are minded to receive the Holy Communion, both he and all the people kneeling humbly upon their knees, and saying,

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we from time to time most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, against your Divine Majesty, provoking most justly your wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us. Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; And grant, that we may ever hereafter serve and please you in newness of life, To the honour and glory of your Name, Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Then all standing, the Elder shall say,

Hear what comfortable [comforting] words our Savior Christ says unto all that truly turn to him:

“Come unto me, all you that are burdened and heavy-laden, and I will [give you rest].” (Matthew 11:28)

“So God loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Hear also what St. Paul says:

“This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, ‘That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’” (1 Tim. 1:15)

Hear also what St. John says:

“If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins.” (1 Jn. 3:1–2)

The Great Thanksgiving

After which the Elder shall proceed, saying,

Lift up your hearts.
Answ [Answer, by the congregation]. We lift them up unto the Lord.
Elder. Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.
Answ. It is meet [fitting] and right so to do.

Then shall the Elder say,

It is very meet [fitting], right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto you, O Lord, Holy Father*, Almighty, Everlasting God.

*These Words [Holy Father] must be omitted on Trinity Sunday.


Here shall follow the proper Preface, according to the Time, if there be any especially appointed; or else immediately shall follow;

Therefore with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify your glorious Name, evermore praising you, and saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are fully of your glory.” Glory be to you, O Lord most high. Amen.

Proper Prefaces

Upon Christmas day.

Because you did give Jesus Christ your only Son to be born as at this time for us, who, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, was made very man, and that without spot of sin, to make us clean from all sin. Therefore with Angels, …

Upon Easter day.

But chiefly we are bound to praise you for the glorious Resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord: for he is the very Paschal Mab, which was offered for us, and has taken away the sin of the world; who by his death has destroyed death, and by his rising to life again, has restored to us everlasting life. Therefore with Angels, …

Upon Ascension day.

Through your most dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; who, after his most glorious Resurrection, manifestly appeared to all his Apostles, and in their sight ascended up into heaven, to prepare a place for us; that where he is, there we might also ascend, and reign with him in glory. Therefore with Angels, …

Upon Whitsunday [Pentecost].

Through Jesus Christ our Lord; according to whose most true promise the Holy Spirit came down, as at this time, from heaven with a sudden great sound, as it had been a mighty wind, in the likeness of fiery tongues, lighting upon the Apostles, to teach them, and to lead them to all truth; giving them both the gift of diverse languages, and also boldness, with fervent zeal, constantly to preach the Gospel unto all nations, whereby we have been brought out of darkness and error, into the clear light and knowledge of you, and of your Son Jesus Christ. Therefore with Angels, …

Upon the Feast of Trinity.

Who are one God, one Lord; not one only person, but three persons in one substance. For that which we believe of the glory of the Father, the same we believe of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, without any difference or inequality. Therefore with Angels, …

After each of which Prefaces shall immediately be said,

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with the company of heaven, we laud and magnify your glorious Name, evermore praising you, and saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory.” Glory be to you, O Lord most high. Amen.

Prayer of Humble Access

Then shall the Elder, kneeling down at the Table, say, in the Name of all them that shall receive the Communion, this Prayer following; the People also kneeling:

We do not presume to come to this your Table, O 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 property 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 our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

Prayer of Consecration and Fraction

Then the Elder shall say the Prayer of Consecration, as follows:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who, of your tender mercy, did give your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there (by his oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death until his coming again; hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech you, and grant that we, receiving these your creatures of bread and wine, according to your Son our Savior Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood: who, in the same night that he was betrayed * took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it *; and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat; * this is my Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after Supper * he took the Cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink you all of this; foro this * is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins: Do this as oft as you shall drink it, in remembrance of me.” Amen.

*  Here the Elder is to take the Paten [communion plate] into his Hands:
* And here to break the Bread:
* And here to lay his Hand upon all the Bread.
* Here he is to take the Cup into his Hand:
* And here to lay his Hand upon every Vessel (be it Chalice or Flagon) in which there is any Wine to be consecrated.


Then shall the Minister first receive the Communion in both kinds himself, and then proceed to deliver the same to the other Ministers in like manner, (if any be present) and after that to the People also, in order, into their Hands. And when he delivers the Bread to any one, he shall say,

The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.

And the Minister that delivers the Cup to any one shall say,

The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

If the consecrated Bread or Wine be all spent before all have communicated, the Elder may consecrate more, by repeating the Prayer of Consecration.

When all have communicated, the Minister shall return to the Lord’s Table, and place upon it what remaineth of the consecrated Elements, covering the same with a fair Linen Cloth.

The Lord’s Prayer

Then shall the Elder say the Lord’s Prayer, the People repeating after him every Petition.

Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed by thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy Will be done on Earth, As it is in Heaven: Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil: For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer and Praise

After which shall be said as follows:

O Lord and heavenly Father, we your humble servants desire your Fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching you to grant that, by the merits and death of your Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all your whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. And here we offer and present unto you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto you; humbly beseeching you that all we who are partakers of this holy Communion, may be filled with your grace and heavenly benediction. And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto you any sacrifice, yet we beseech you to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offenses, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be; unto you, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.

Then shall be said,

Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men. We praise you, we bless you, we worship you, we glorify you, we give thanks to you for your great glory, O Lord God, heavenly king, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten Son Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. You that take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. You that take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. You that sit at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For you only are holy, you only are the Lord, you only, O Christ, with the Holy Spirit, are most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Then the Elder, if he see it expedient, may put up an Extempore Prayer; and afterwards shall let the People depart with this Blessing:

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.