When You Can't Come to the Lord's Supper

The Spiritual Communion

This devotion, called The Spiritual Communion, is designed for those who cannot physically commune. It is drawn from a service by the Scottish Presbyterian Church.

The Spiritual Communion

If on any Sunday or other Day or Feast, you are prevented from making your Communion, make an act of Spiritual Communion, in this way:

Kneel down, and hear what comforting words our Savior Christ says unto all who truly turn to Him:

Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.  Matt. 3:28

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

This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.   1 Timothy 1:15.

If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins.   1 John 2:1-2

Then pray:

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying:

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, 

Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: 

Hosanna in the highest

Then Pray: In union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of Your Church, where the Holy Communion is now being celebrated, I desire to offer You praise and thanksgiving. I present to You my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to You. And since I can not now receive You in the holy sacrament, I ask You to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to You, and embrace You with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate You from me. May I live and die in Your love. Amen.

Spend a few moments in meditation upon the depth of the love of God, that He sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world for you. Recite the Lord's Prayer...

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be 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 those who trespass against us; 

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

And then bless yourself:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with me always. 


Meditation for and Prayer by One Who Cannot Receive the Sacrament (W. Loehe)


My Savior, God and Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, thought of me in great love before His death in the Last Supper, and made a rich, good testament with me, a poor sinner, that I should remember Him. He ordered and made for me a testament, forgiveness of sins, confirmed and sealed this testament with His body, wounds, and blood, as He Himself says in the institution of this Sacrament and testament, and as the holy evangelists and apostles write. For as the Lord Jesus ate the last Passover lamb with his 12 apostles on the day before His Passion, He spoke to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16). Then He lifted His eyes toward heaven, to God His Father, took the bread in His holy hands, gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples, and said: “Take, eat. This is My body, which is given for you.” After the same manner also He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them and spoke: “Drink of it, all of you. This is the cup of the New Testament in My blood, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.” (cf.: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)


O Lord Jesus Christ, my God and my Savior, these are the noble, comforting words in which You Yourself witness to us the truth, that Your Body and Your Blood, which were given and shed for us, are truly here. I believe, O Lord, that Your words are truth and that heaven and earth must pass away before Your words would be false. O Lord God, preserve, increase, and strengthen in me faith, love and devotion toward You in this Sacrament, for in the form of bread and wine Your holy Body and Your precious Blood are present—the Body which You gave into death for me; the Blood which You shed for the forgiveness of my sins. You offer this Body and Blood to me, a poor sinner, out of love and grace as a true Food, as a true Drink of my soul, whereby it most certainly obtains forgiveness of all sins, unification with You, and incorporation into Your spiritual body and the communion of all saints; strength, comfort, and help in all temptation of the enemy; confirmation in love, in faith, and in hope; also preparation for the long road to an unknown land which stands before me. O Lord, You have known well that I am a poor sinner; but still You have esteemed me so highly in this Your last testament. Therefore I come, full of trust and desire, and because I cannot receive it today with my mouth, let me receive its sweet fruit spiritually into my soul. I beseech You, my God and Savior, that You would not shut me out of Your Supper, but according to Your merciful promise (cf. John 6), You would feed me now with Your holy Body and would give me to drink of Your Blood, so that I may receive You spiritually into my soul and all my sins may be forgiven me; and so that a living faith, love, and hope be raised up, strengthened and confirmed: so that You only may reign in me mightily, and I may remain steadfast in You with my whole mind and heart. I want also, my God and Lord, to believe fully in Your holy words without doubt. And because You are present to forgive sins, and I appear before You poor and hungry for Your mercy, You will give me, and I shall receive: no one can prevent this—the fruit of the Sacrament ought and shall be accomplished in me. For this be praise and glory unto You forever and ever. Amen.

From a prayer: “Spiritual Eating of the Sacrament”; in Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians by Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, Lutheran Pastor (1808-1872). Emmanuel Press, 2010; pages 59-60. Text edited and updated by PAS.