Of all the things that we can do, the most essential are worshipping God and offering Him our prayer and thanksgiving. Having the opportunity to make Prosphora helps us in a focused way to worship, pray and offer thanksgiving. When we make Prosphora, which means offering or bringing, we are actively offering back to God, that which He has given us; and through the making of the bread we also offer thanksgiving, prayer and worship.
We offer thanksgiving by realizing that everything comes from God. The wheat, the salt, the yeast, the water and everything else we are blessed with, including our utensils, pans and ovens; without which we could not make our bread offering. We offer thanksgiving for having the willingness, the opportunity, the strength and the forcefulness to make the bread even when we are busy or tired, because it requires our will aligning with God’s will as an intentional, sacrificial response to do so.
We are offering prayer as we are making the bread. “Please Lord, help me to focus on You and what you have offered to me and all of humanity through this bread which will become your Body. Please Lord God, receive this bread from these unworthy hands which struggle to do any good thing on this earth. Please Lord, cover my sins as I am making this bread which will become your sinless Body. Please Lord Jesus, help me to knead in my love for you and that of my family, as we ever more deeply realize our great and endless need for You.”
We worship God through our willingness to glorify Him by preparing our Prosphora and offering it on behalf of ourselves, our family, and our entire church family. We worship God by acknowledging Him as Lord King and God, our Savior and Redeemer, our Light and Life. We worship God through our offering of the Prosphora themselves, because they would not be necessary if it were not for His sacrificial love and outpouring of Himself on the Cross for the salvation of myself, my family, my church family and for all of humanity.
How great is our God! He blesses us with the opportunity to use what He has given us, so that we weak sinners can offer it back to Him to be used in the Holy Offering of Himself as the Lamb, to be sacrificed for our sake. When the bread we offer is placed on the altar, it is we too who are placing ourselves on the altar of sacrifice, offering ourselves to God, giving Him our all to be used by God as He so deems. Not only myself and my family who have offered the Prosphora, but all of us in the congregation are being offered to God as a living sacrifice through this bread.
The placing of the Prosphora on the Paten is not just the bread my family is offering on behalf of the entire congregation, it is the bread that will be used for those faithful living and for those departed. The bread that is being offered will be used to offer the Lamb, the Holy Oblation. And, with the Lamb, an offering of the bread for the Theotokos, the Heavenly Host, all the Saints and all of the Kingdom on both sides of this life. The bread we bake and offer becomes the Lord’s Body and with the wine that is offered becoming His Blood, the Holy Chalice will contain our God and our Salvation! The very Body and Blood of Christ, will be given individually, by name, to each person who offers themselves before Christ Jesus as they approach the Holy Chalice.
And finally, the Prosphora we offer will allow the Priest of our Holy Orthodox Church to celebrate the Divine Liturgy; for without the bread we bake and offer, he could not celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
~ A Prosphora Baker
* Icon above is of Sts. Spyridon and Nicodemus the Prosphora Bakers of the Kiev Caves