An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Postcommunion Prayer

A prayer of thanksgiving after communion that also seeks God's help for Christian service. The eucharistic community is sent “into the world in peace” to love and serve God as witnesses of Christ (BCP, pp. 365-366). This prayer expresses the transition of the Christian's attention from the mystery of sacramental participation to the engagement of Christian ministry. The prayer follows the administration of communion to the people, and it precedes the blessing and dismissal. A hymn may be sung before or after the postcommunion prayer (BCP, p. 409). Postcommunion prayers have been dated from the fourth century. The 1549 Prayer Book provided one postcommunion prayer, and two options were included in the 1552 BCP. The Rite 1 Eucharist in the 1979 BCP provides one postcommunion prayer (p. 339), with two options for the postcommunion prayer in the Rite 2 Eucharist (pp. 365-366). The Rite 1 postcommunion prayer may be said or sung by the celebrant alone, or the people may join in saying the prayer. The Rite 2 postcommunion prayer is always said by the celebrant and people together. The 1979 BCP provides special postcommunion prayers for Communion under Special Circumstances, Communion in the Ministration to the Sick, the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, the Burial of the Dead, and for ordinations and the Celebration of a New Ministry.

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.