A prayer of invocation invites God to be present with the worshippers. At its simplest, prayer is a conversation between God and his people, and most Christian worship services begin with a prayer of invocation. In addition to worship services, invocations are often included in formal services such as weddings, graduations, baptisms and funerals. The word "invocation" comes from a Latin word which means to call on or to invite. The format can vary according to the setting, but must invite God to be present to be considered a true prayer of invocation.
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Address God to begin your prayer, then elaborate on God's name by stating something about his character or attributes. For example, "O Lord God, you alone are holy." Contrast this with a general confession, such as, "We acknowledge our unworthiness to come into your presence."
State the purpose of the occasion during which the invocation is being prayed. For example, "We come together today to glorify your name." If your church follows a lectionary or orders its worship according to the liturgical year, you can make reference to the significance of the day in this section. "We come together to glorify your name as we recall the giving of your Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost" is one way this may be used.
Call on God to be present. For example, "Be present among us we worship you this morning. Soften our hearts and give us ears to hear as your Word is proclaimed to us."
State why God's presence is important. For instance, "For we know it is only through the work of your son, Jesus Christ, that we have access to your throne."
Conclude the prayer in the name of Christ. "We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen."
Tips and warnings
- Use the words of Scripture as you pray. The Psalms are a good place to start.
- Prayer is serious, and should be respectful and reverent. There is no place in prayer for lightheartedness or humour.
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