The Order of Worship: The Prayer of Invocation
In previous weeks, we’ve considered the Call to Worship, the Reading of the Psalm, and the Hymn or Psalm we sing in response to God’s call. This week we are going to consider briefly the Prayer of Invocation.
In this prayer, our primary concern is to call upon God to be present in our midst and work amongst us during our worship. It is an admission that nothing we do can change our hearts without the Spirit of God working. Our Sunday mornings do not succeed in sanctifying us and offering gospel encouragement because we who lead or you who participate are smart enough or good enough or trying hard enough. Our work is to obey God and glorify him in our worship. It is God’s work—work he promises to accomplish in us when we worship him rightly—that shapes us into the image of Christ, comforts us in affliction, exhorts and admonishes us in our sin. It is God’s Spirit, working through God’s Word, that accomplishes all that God intends to accomplish in us and for us in our worship.
It’s that simple. We want to acknowledge from the outset that we are utterly and gladly dependent upon God. As Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 1, we who are gathered are not the wise of this world, or the powerful of this world, nor those born into noble families. And even if some of us are those things, that is not why we are gathered on Sunday morning. Before God, as Martin Luther’s dying words confessed, "We are beggars. This is true.”
With the end of the prayer of invocation, we transition to the portion of our service that has the confession of sin at its heart. We’ll look at that next week.
I hope to see you Sunday!