The Prosforo – Bread Offering
What does it mean to bring an offering to the church? It means that you prayerfully give of yourself to Christ who is the giver of ‘all good things’. (cf. James 1:17) God provides all things, be it the wheat or grapes, and transforms it through the Holy Spirit, giving it back as His precious Body for Holy Communion. We give ourselves to God and He, in turn, gives Himself to us. This is what we declare in the Divine Liturgy: ‘Thine own of Thine own we offer to You in all and for all’.
We therefore need to continue this tradition in our own families as a way of serving God and His Holy Church. Bringing an offering to church also provides a powerful means for beseeching the Lord on behalf of our loved ones, both living and dead.
Initially it is good to learn from a committed Orthodox Christian the proper way of preparing the Prosforo. It is important that we prepare for this most sacred task by prayer, Confession and regular Holy Communion.
Since this is indeed a sacred task, the utensils, including the seal, must only be used for this purpose. The area where we prepare the Prosforo must be clean, lit with a vigil lamp, icons and a censer. We should be fasting and praying as we prepare. One example of a prayer we can use is:
I thank You Lord for this holy moment, where you have counted me worthy to knead with my sinful hands the all-immaculate Gifts of Your love. I plead with You to send down your All Holy Spirit, Who blesses all the Sacraments of the Church, to also bless these gifts so that they become good and acceptable before Your Holy Altar. And I ask that You accept them as you accepted Abel’s sacrifice, the glorification of the shepherds, the gifts of the Magi, the tears of Peter, and the thief’s repentance. And make me worthy to always offer them to you with a good conscience. Amen.