Recently, a community, re-ordering its liturgical space made it easier for people to stand, as well as alowing those who sought to do so to kneel for receiving communion. They highlighted the words at the end of the eucharistic prayer “… with all who stand before you in earth and heaven, we worship you…” I have previously used this text to highlight standing throughout the eucharistic prayer as appropriate in renewed liturgy:

Standing throughout the Great Thanksgiving is also a return to the ancient JewishChristian posture for prayer. It makes little sense to pray the words “with all who stand before you … we worship you” (page 423) while kneeling! Keeping the same posture throughout the prayer again witnesses to the unity of the Great Thanksgiving. Hence, announcements such as “Let us pray” made after “Blessed is he …” are to be avoided. An announcement made in the middle of a prayer interrupts its unity. Furthermore, “Let us pray” said in the middle of the Great Thanksgiving implies that what has occurred previously was not prayer! In any case, “Let us pray” should not be equivalent to “please kneel,” as if kneeling is the only appropriate posture for Christian prayer!

Interested, a member of this community contacted me for the history of this text. Best I can find so far is that it was first included in the draft form of Series 3 (UK, CofE) in June 1971. It was incorporated into the First Eucharistic Prayer of The Alternative Service Book 1980. New Zealand first added it to a 1981 draft and from there it went into the NZ 1984 revision The Liturgy of the Eucharist. It has been retained in all subsequent NZ and CofE revisions, including Prayer A in Common Worship and the reworked (never authorised in the Roman Catholic Church) ICEL 1984 text, as Prayer G.

If anyone knows any previous or other history of this phrase, including biblical connections – the comments box is open for you, thanks.

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