Prayers of Invocation

1. Adapted from Richard Baxter’s Puritan Non-Conformist liturgy of 1660:

Eternal, Almighty, and most gracious God: heaven is your throne, and earth is your footstool; holy and reverend is your name; you are praised by the angels of heaven, and in the gathering of your church on earth. Despite our unworthiness, you have invited us through our Mediator, Jesus Christ, to present ourselves and our prayers to you. Receive us graciously. Help us by your Spirit. Let us stand in awe of you. Put your law into our hearts, and write it on our minds. Let your word come to us in power, and help us receive it in love, with attentive, reverent, and teachable minds. Through your word, allow us to taste the flavor of eternal life. Make us fervent in prayer and joyful in praise. Help us serve you this day without distraction, that we may find that a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere, and that it is good for us to come near to God; through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

  1. Adapted from the Synod of New York and Philadelphia’s 1787 proposed revision of the Directory for Worship:

Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who are and were, and are to come: We, who are not worthy of the least of your mercies, humbly present ourselves in your presence. We come to you, our Creator and Redeemer, with honor, adoration, and praise. Enable us by your good Spirit to attend with undistracted minds, with reverence and awe, to the holy duties to which you are calling us today. Allow us, we pray, to come with humble boldness into the holy of holies, by the new and living way into your presence Christ has made ready for us through his sacrifice. Teach us from your word. May we read it with wise and understanding hearts. Prepare us to sing your praises with music in our hearts, and to offer you acceptable worship. Teach us to pray; inspire us with a spirit of devotion; enable us to exercise faith in every moment of our worship. And let all we do be done to the Glory of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God; and graciously accept us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  1. Adapted from the 1906 Book of Common Worship of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America:

Almighty God, who in your great mercy have gathered us into your visible Church: Grant that we may not turn from the purity of your worship, but that we may so honor you, both in spirit and in action, that your name may be glorified in us, and we may be true members of your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  1. Adapted from John Calvin’s weekday service:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we call your name, praying that it will please you to turn away from our many terrible sins, by which we have never stopped deserving your anger. And because we are not worthy to appear before your sovereign majesty, we pray that you will see us in your beloved Son Jesus Christ, and accept the merit of his death in satisfaction for all our offenses, and that in him we may be pleasing in your eyes. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, enlightening our minds with true understanding of your word. And give us your grace, so that as we receive your truth into our hearts with humility and awe, we may be led to place all our trust in you, living to serve and worship you, to the glory of your holy name. And since you have chosen to count us among your people, help us to give you the love and honor that we owe to you, as children to our Father, and as servants to our Lord.

If the Lord’s Prayer is to be said, the prayer is concluded with the words,

We ask this in the words our blessed Master taught us, saying—Our Father, etc.

If the Lord’s Prayer is not to be said, the prayer is concluded thus:

We ask this in the name of our blessed Master, Jesus Christ your Son, who together with you and the Holy Spirit is worshiped and glorified, one God, now and ever. Amen.

  1. Adapted from a prayer of Alexander McLaren:

O Lord, our merciful Father, we ask you to look upon us who are gathered here in your presence now, and shed upon us as a congregation, and upon each of us individually, the helpful spirit of your grace, so that all our thoughts and desires now may be such that you can approve and satisfy them, and that in our worship we may each be aware that we have come into your presence. Amen.

 

Examples 1-5 collected and adapted by M.D. Bush.

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