Consider this description in the Scottish Episcopal Church in the late 18th into the early 19th centuries:
“At Fraserburgh, the sum total of public celebrations was only five in the course of the ecclesiastical year – i.e., three on the great Festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, and two on the Sundays after Trinity, without any regard to the first of the month – generally the 10th and 21st, the last being regulated by the course of the harvest, whether early or late.”
A description is then given by his curate, Mr. Pressley, as to how the Parson of Fraserburgh, Bishop of Moray, Alexander Jolly, prepared for Holy Communion.
“Till he grew feeble, he would not allow me to take any part in covering the altar, &c., or in preparing the elements, and in the coldest Christmas morning he was to be found in the Church, at about 6 a.m., with a large lantern which he kept for the purpose, making his arrangements, and carrying from his lodgings, at two different journeys, all the necessary materials – the bread previously prepared and kept in a box for the prothesis, and the wine (port) in bottles, carefully drained when poured into the paten. The whole was concluded by an office of devotion for the purpose, and given memoriter.” (The Life of the Right Reverend Alexander Jolly, D.D., Bishop of Moray, 56)
That the Scottish Episcopal Church maintained a preparation of the elements prayerfully (and by the priest alone) is noted well in Traditional Ceremonies and Customs Connected with the Scottish Liturgy, explaining that much was made of the preparation of the bread in which “we seem to find an echo of the practice of the Eastern Church” (34) and also in the mixing of the chalice beforehand which is the primitive Celtic and English practice, but to which the Scottish church in different places added more ceremonial.
For example, one can see one prayer at the mixture of the water and wine beforehand composed by Bishop Robert Forbes, and recorded in a catechism on the Holy Eucharist also prepared by himself:
“O most gracious and merciful Lord God, as this Wine represents to us the Sacred Blood of Christ, and this Water thy people, and also the Mixing of these two together represents to us the blessed Union between Christians and their merciful Saviour and Head; so, of thy infinite mercy grant, that those thy Servants, who partake of this mixed Cup, may no more be separated from Christ their Head than this Water can no be separated from this Wine, but they may continue their unmerited Union with him by a firm and steady perseverance in that Faith once delivered to the Saints, and by the serious Practice of all virtuous and godly living, till at last they arrive at that unspeakable Bliss in the glorious Mansions above, which thou hast prepared for those who are thy faithful Servants, through the same Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, O Father, and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, World without End. Amen.
“Our Father, which art in heaven, etc.” (144-45)
In many parishes, it might be argued we spend more time on the bulletin, editing it and making sure that the birthday dates are correct and that there are no grammatical errors than we do prayerfully preparing the elements. So how much prayerful preparation should occur during a "Prothesis," praying that each member receiving communion might come vested in the “Wedding Garment” of Faith and Repentance? Lengthy preparation (even of the bulletin) should not be a drudgery but a prayerful preparation.
Picture is from St. Ninian's Cathedral Perth and https://www.perthcathedral.co.uk/about/history