An invocation is usually a prayer that, in some liturgies, takes place towards the beginning of Lord's Day worship, other worship settings, or public gatherings. It is a formal calling upon the name of God, to ask for his presence in worship and for him to hear petitions lifted up in prayer. An entire prayer can be designated as an 'invocation' or prayers may contain invocations. Invocations are found throughout Scripture, a well known invocation is the opening lines of the Lord's Prayer which says, 'Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..." (Mt. 6:9)

Examples of Biblical Invocations

  • Psalm 103:1 - Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

  • Matthew 28:19 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Invocations from the Liturgies of Church History

The First Apology of Justin Martyr (c. 155 A.D.)

  • Baptismal Liturgy - "... [sending] up praise and glory to the Father of all, through the name of the Son and Holy Spirit..."
  • Eucharistic Liturgy - "For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior, being incarnate by the Word of God, took flesh and blood for our salvation."

The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (2nd and 3rd Cent. A.D.)

  • A Responsive Worship Reading - "The Lord be with you / And with thy Spirit / Lift up your hearts / We have them with us Lord /

Let us give thanks unto the Lord / [It is] meet and right."


  • Thompson, Bard. ed., Liturgies of the Western Church. Fortress, 1961. ISBN 0-8006-1428-3.