Teach Us to Pray (Mark 11:1-11)

Read Mark 11:1–11.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

This prayer, which echoes Christ's "triumphal entry," is called the Sanctus. It has deep roots in Christian worship as one of the earliest and most consistently found prayers in the ancient liturgies of the Church. In the first century, while parts of the New Testament itself was still being written, Clement of Rome references the Sanctus being used in the worship gathering. Many churches still pray it today before receiving Christ through Communion.

When we pray the words of the Sanctus, we gather together many threads in the story of salvation. We join the multitudes angels in their perpetual praise before the throne of the thrice-holy God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Isaiah 6:3). We join the psalmist's victory procession,  singing that God has defeated our enemies (Psalm 118:26). We cry out for salvation with the crowds welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem, receiving him as our King (Mark 11:9–10). We anticipate the day when all creation together worships before  the One who was and is and is to come (Revelation 4:9). 

The Sanctus also draws together many kinds of prayer into one powerful summary. We praise God for who he is. We contemplate his glorious presence throughout creation. We confess our need and request for his mercy and grace (hosanna—“save us!”). We rejoice and give thanks for his coming to save and reign. We declare his victory over evil. 

Memorize the Sanctus, and pray it throughout your week, remembering the whole history of salvation coming to its fullness in Christ. 

Questions or discussion? Click here to comment.

Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: Deeper Dive Podcast (Mark 11:1-11)

About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC